Rita Ann Johnson
August 13, 1913
Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||October 31, 1965 (aged 52)|
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California|
(m. 1940; div. 1943)
(m. 1943; div. 1946)
Rita Ann Johnson (August 13, 1913 – October 31, 1965) was an American actress.
Johnson was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the daughter of a single mother, Lillian Johnson.
She worked as a waitress in her mother's lunchroom and sold hot dogs on the Boston-Worcester turnpike. She later attended the New England Conservatory of Music.
Early in her career, Johnson was busy in radio. "By 1936 she... was appearing in ten radio shows a week." She played the leading role in Joyce Jordan, M.D..
Johnson began acting on Broadway in 1935 and started her film career two years later. She played a murderer in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) and a doomed wife in the RKO film noir They Won't Believe Me (1947).
In an incident that was never fully explained, Johnson suffered a head trauma on September 6, 1948 that required brain surgery. Unsubstantiated rumors promulgated by gossip columnists such as Walter Winchell suggested she might have been abused by a boyfriend, but the only explanation she offered was that a large, industrial-grade hair dryer at her apartment had fallen on her. She was in a coma for two weeks and it was reported, "It took her a year to recover. Her left side was paralyzed temporarily, and for a while she couldn't walk." It put a virtual halt to her film career. Her screen time in movies after that was limited due to her reduced mobility and powers of concentration.
Johnson was married to businessman L. Stanley Kahn. They were granted a divorce on June 29, 1943. She was married to Edwin Hutzler from 1943 to 1946, when they were divorced. A Democrat, she supported Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 presidential election. She was also a practicing Roman Catholic.
Johnson suffered from alcoholism from the time of her injuries until her death of a brain hemorrhage on October 31, 1965, at age 52.
|1943||Lux Radio Theatre||My Friend Flicka|
|1952||Family Theater||The Crossroads of Christmas|