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Richard Johnson (born 30 July 1927) is an Englishmarker actor, writer and producer, who starred in several British films of the 1960s and has also had a distinguished stage career. He most recently appeared in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Life and career

Johnson was born in Upminstermarker, Englandmarker, the son of Frances Louisa Olive (née Tweed) and Keith Holcombe Johnson. Johnson's most famous wife (his second) was American actress Kim Novak, with whom he appeared in the 1965 film, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders; they had no children. By his first marriage, to Sheila Sweet, he has two children, games designer Jervis Johnson (b. 1969) and actress Sorel Johnson. His also has a daughter, Jennifer, by his third wife, Mary Louise Norlund, and a fourth child, Nicholas, by Francoise Pascal. Johnson is currently married to Lynne Gurney; the couple have been together since 1989, and married on the beach in Goa 2004. Richard is the founder of It's a Green Green World.

Johnson went to Felsted Schoolmarker, then trained at RADA and made his first professional appearances on stage with John Gielgud's company. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Navy, and made his film debut in 1951. His biggest successes as a film actor came with The Haunting (1963), as Bulldog Drummond in 1966's Deadlier Than the Male, opposite Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier in Khartoum (1966) and 1969's Danger Route. Johnson was director Terence Young's choice for the role of James Bond, but he turned the producers down as he didn't favour a lengthy contract. He also appeared in several Italian films, including Lucio Fulci's cult classic, Zombi 2 and Sergio Martino's L'Isola degli uomini pesce (aka Island of Mutations). At the same time, he was a stage actor, appearing in the title role in Tony Richardson's production of Pericles, Prince of Tyre in 1958. In the 1960s, he starred in an episode of the TV anthology The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, playing a con artist who fleeces Fay Bainter and is given his just deserts courtesy of Geraldine Fitzgerald.

In 1957, he played Iachimo, opposite Peggy Ashcroft's Imogen, in Peter Hall's Cymbeline. During the 1970s he starred with the Royal Shakespeare Company and played Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra for ITV and the title role in Cymbeline (1982), for the BBC. He has continued to appear on film and television, twice in Midsomer Murders and often in historical dramas, as well as acting on stage in the West Endmarker musical Thomas And The King and lecturing on Shakespeare. His interest in Shakespeare allowed him to contribute "Sonnet 138" to the 2002 compilation album, When Love Speaks (EMI Classics), which features famous actors and musicians interpreting sonnets and play excerpts.in 2004 and 2005 respectively he appeared in ITV1 Series Doc Martin as Colonel Gilbert Spencer a patient who in the first of two episodes he appeared in started to develob breasts in the second he was a keen birdwatcher trying to stop others from seeing the rare birds of Portwenn to disaserous results. In 2005 he appeared as Stanley Baldwin in Wallis and Edward, and in 2007, aged 80, he appeared in the BBC radio comedy series Bleak Expectations. A second series of the show was recorded in 2008 and series 3 began broadcasting on BBC Radio 4 on 29th October 2009.

References

  1. Richard Johnson Biography (1927-)
  2. It's a Green Green World
  3. Cinema Retro magazine issue #10

External links




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