One of Hollywood's last living actors associated with the glory days of the film industry has passed away. Van Johnson, one of the industry's glamour boys, was 92 years old. Although he never broke through to superstardom, Johnson was a popular leading man whose career peaked in the 1950s. Generally relegated to playing romantic leads, Johnson's good looks might well have prevented him from getting more interesting roles. By the 1960s, he landed prominent roles in a few "A" list studio pictures like Wives and Lovers and Divorce, American Style but from there it was basically a downhill ride. Throughout the ensuing years, he appeared largely in B movies and little-seen Euro trash productions, though he did have a supporting role in Woody Allen's 1985 film The Purple Rose of Cairo. In a column about Johnson's career, Entertainment Weekly appropriately notes that the high point was his superb performance in the 1954 screen version of The Caine Mutiny in which Johnson finds himself in the awkward position of having to assume command of a U.S. Navy warship when he deems his captain (Humphrey Bogart) as being unfit to steer the vessel through a typhoon. Here, Johnson held his own against such heavyweights as Bogart, Fred MacMurry and Jose Ferrer. For more click here
Van Johnson (left) with Robert Francis and Fred MacMurray in The Caine Mutiny.