Richard Johnson, an accomplished actor whose career spanned over six decades, passed away on June 6th, 2015 at the age of 87. He was best known for his work on stage and in film, where he delivered powerful and memorable performances that captivated audiences all over the world.
Born in Upminster, Essex in 1927, Johnson began his acting career in the 1950s, appearing in a variety of stage productions across the UK. In 1959, he made his film debut in the British war drama “The Nun’s Story,” which starred Audrey Hepburn. This led to a string of successful film roles throughout the 1960s, including his standout performance as Bulldog Drummond in “Deadlier Than the Male” (1967).
One of Johnson’s most notable roles came in 1963, when he played the lead character in the British horror classic “The Haunting,” which was directed by Robert Wise. In the film, Johnson played Dr. Markway, a paranormal investigator who leads a team of researchers to a haunted mansion in order to study its supernatural occurrences. The film received critical acclaim and is now considered one of the greatest horror films of all time.
Johnson’s success on the big screen continued into the 1970s, where he appeared in a number of international productions. He played a supporting role in the 1971 crime drama “The French Connection,” which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In 1976, Johnson starred in the Italian horror film “Zombie Holocaust,” which has since become a cult classic.
Throughout his career, Johnson remained a respected and sought-after stage actor. He appeared in numerous productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, where he earned critical acclaim for his performances in plays such as “King Lear” and “The Homecoming.”
Johnson also had a successful career in television, appearing in popular British shows such as “The Avengers,” “The Bill,” and “Midsomer Murders.” His last on-screen role was in the 2010 film “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,” in which he played the character of Grandpa.
Despite his success as an actor, Johnson was known for his modesty and down-to-earth demeanor. He once stated in an interview, “I’ve always tried to keep my feet on the ground and not get too carried away with any kind of fame or success. Acting is just a job, and I’ve been fortunate enough to make a living out of it.”
Johnson’s passing was met with an outpouring of condolences from fans and colleagues in the entertainment industry. Actor Mark Gatiss, who worked with Johnson on the TV series “Crooked House,” tweeted, “So sad to hear about the passing of the great Richard Johnson. A wonderful actor and a true gentleman.” Actress Angela Lansbury, who starred with Johnson in “The Mirror Crack’d” (1980), said in a statement, “He was a consummate actor and a dear friend. His contributions to the world of entertainment will not be forgotten.”
Richard Johnson will be remembered as one of the most talented and versatile actors of his generation. His legacy lives on through his performances, which continue to inspire and entertain audiences around the world. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.