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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kay Johnson
Catherine Townsend Johnson

(1904-11-29)November 29, 1904
DiedNovember 17, 1975(1975-11-17) (aged 70)
Alma materAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active1929–1954
(m. 1928; div. 1946)
Children2, including James Cromwell

Catherine Townsend Johnson (November 29, 1904 – November 17, 1975)[1] was an American stage and film actress.

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Johnson’s father was architect Thomas R. Johnson, the architect of several noteworthy buildings in New York City, including the Woolworth Building, the New York Customs House,[2] and many library buildings. When she was a junior, she dropped out of Grew Seminary to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[3]



Johnson's professional acting debut was in Beggar on Horseback,[3] and she acted in R.U.R. in Chicago.[4]

Johnson's Broadway credits included State of the Union (1945), A Free Soul (1928), Crime (1927), No Trespassing (1926), One of the Family (1925), All Dressed Up (1925), The Morning After (1925), Beggar on Horseback (1925), Beggar on Horseback (1924), and Go West, Young Man (1923).[5]


Johnson was signed to a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by Cecil B. DeMille following a performance of The Silver Cord[4] at the Repertory Theater in Los Angeles, California. The play was produced by Simeon Gest of the Figueroa Playhouse. Her film debut came in Dynamite (1929), written by Jeanie Macpherson and featuring Charles Bickford and Conrad Nagel. Production was delayed while Johnson recovered from an appendectomy.

She went on to appear in The Ship from Shanghai (1930), This Mad World (1930), Billy the Kid (1930), The Spoilers (1930) with Gary Cooper and Betty Compson, DeMille's Madam Satan (1930), Passion Flower (1930), Capra's American Madness (1932), Thirteen Women (1932), Of Human Bondage (which starred Leslie Howard and Bette Davis), Jalna (1935) and Mr. Lucky (1943). Johnson was cast opposite Warner Baxter in a screen adaptation of Such Men Are Dangerous by Elinor Glyn. The story was adapted to the screen by Fox Film.

Johnson's final film appearance was in the 1954 British film Jivaro (also known as Lost Treasure of the Amazon).

Personal life and death

Johnson married actor, director, and producer John Cromwell, and they had a son, actor James Cromwell.[citation needed] Johnson and Cromwell divorced.[6]

On November 17, 1975, Johnson died from a heart attack at her home in Waterford, Connecticut.[1]

Partial filmography


  1. ^ a b Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 381. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  2. ^ Peak, Mayme Ober (March 20, 1930). "Reel Life in Hollywood". The Boston Globe. Massachusetts, Boston. p. 24. Retrieved July 24, 2019 – via
  3. ^ a b Harris, Rache (July 28, 1930). "Movie Monotypes". Star-Gazette. New York, Elmira. p. 4. Retrieved July 24, 2019 – via
  4. ^ a b Thomas, Dan (January 19, 1930). "Kay Johnson Is a Success -- Just As Her Mother Had Dreamed". The Central New Jersey Home News. New Jersey, New Brunswick. p. 11. Retrieved July 24, 2019 – via
  5. ^ "Kay Johnson". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on July 24, 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  6. ^ Marks, Scott. "James Cromwell on The Promise and the hoops of Hollywood". San Diego Reader. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Demille Features Child Actor", January 17, 1929, Page A10.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Kay Johnson Under Knife", March 3, 1929, Page C15.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Kay Johnson Continues", May 30, 1929, Page A6.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Kay Johnson, as Genteel Heroine of Cecil B. DeMille, Plays First Screen Role", July 21, 1929, Page B13.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 March 2024, at 14:02
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