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VAN JOHNSON


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Van Johnson, the idol of '40s bobby soxers (gay and straight) and one of M-G-M's biggest stars, has died at 92.

 

Johnson was married for several years and fathered a daughter. His wife was formerly married to actor Keenan Wynn and the three of them lived together for some time. Rumors persisted that Johnson and Mr. Wynn were lovers.

 

Friends of mine who worked with Johnson on the summer stock circuit said the actor was indeed gay. They also described him as a gentleman and a consummate professional who was a delight to work with and know.

 

He consitently and courteously declined to be interviewed about his personal life and most other subjects as well.

 

He appeared on Broadway as Gene Kelly's undersudy in the original production of "Pal Joey." Johnson returned to the Great White Way years later as a replacement in "La Cage Aux Folles."

 

I remember waiting years ago at a cattle call audition for a Broadway show. He was rehearsing for a tour of "I Do! I Do!' During a break he walked by and joked with all of us needy actors. Thoughtfulness from a star of his stature is rare.

 

And I remember the strong sincerity of his acting in "Battleground" and "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo."

 

 

 

 

 

Lankypeters

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Cindy Adams had this to say about van john's death in today's NY Post. I leave it up to you to draw your own conclusion...

 

E just lost Van Johnson, whom I knew. A movie star in the Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart era, he lived on East 52nd Street. His last years he stayed away, alone, quietly, in Connecticut. Didn't encourage visitors. Couldn't hear well. Communicated with notes. Spent his time reading. Enjoyed painting modernistic oil canvasses in his kitchen - usually while cooking chili. When last I'd seen him he still wore the red socks he always wore, his hair was still blonder than Jessica Simpson's and his eyes had so much makeup that he said to me, "Darling, old Vanny's lashes disappear without mascara." Van told me he'd never do a bio. "I refuse to impale myself no matter for how much," he said.

 

 

ED

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