Ben Johnson

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    There are 238 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by Paula.

    • Ben Johnson



      Date of Birth
      13 June 1918
      Foraker, Shidler, Oklahoma, USA

      Date of Death
      8 April 1996
      Mesa, Arizona, USA. (apparent heart attack)

      6' 3" (1.91 m)

      Carol Elaine Jones (1941 - 1994) (her death)

      Died while visiting his mother in the 'retirement community' where not only she but he himself lived.

      Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994

      A prize belt buckle that he won for calf roping was stolen from his car when he visited Houston in 1976; on a repeat visit a decade later he was an on-air guest on radio station KIKK when a caller returned the buckle to him.

      He initially turned down the role in The Last Picture Show (1971) for which he won the Academy Award because the script contained too many curse words; with permission of the director, Peter Bogdanovich he rewrote his part with the offensive words removed.

      As he was, his father, Ben Johnson, Sr., was a champion steer roper. The senior Johnson was also a cattleman and rancher who was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1961.

      Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1982.

      His father, Ben Johnson, Sr., was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame of the Rodeo Historical Society (a support group of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum) in 1961. The Ben Johnson Memorial Award, in honor of his father, is awarded annually to prominent representatives of the western character and spirit (since 1998).

      Johnson, his father, and nephew have Belt-Buckle awards for team roping.

      Had Osage and Irish blood.

      He turned down the role of Sam the Lion in "The Last Picture Show" when it was first offered to him by Peter Bogdanovich because he thought the script was "dirty" and he did not approve of swearing and nudity in motion pictures. Bogdanovich appealed to John Ford, who got Johnson to change his mind as a favor to him. Johnson won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar playing the role.

      Johnson got his first big break as a member of John Ford's stock company in the late 40s. However, during the making of Rio Grande, Johnson and Ford had a brief verbal argument. All seemed well afterward, and nothing further was said of it, so Ben assumed it was completely blown over. However, Ford declined to use Johnson in any of his films after that for another 14 years, when Ben played a small part in the director's Cheyenne Autumn. They did manage to maintain a friendly relationship nonetheless.

      Mini Biography-1
      Born in Oklahoma, Ben Johnson was a ranch hand and rodeo preformer when, in 1940, Howard Hughes hired him to take a load of horses to California. He decided to stick around (the pay was good), and for some years was a stunt man, horse wrangler, and double for such stars as John Wayne, Gary Cooper and James Stewart. His break came when John Ford noticed him and gave him a part in an upcoming film, and eventually a star part in Wagon Master (1950). He left Hollywood in 1953 to return to rodeo, where he won a world roping championship, but at the end of the year he had barely cleared expenses. The movies paid better, and were less risky, so he returned to the west coast and a career that saw him in over 300 movies.
      Written Bruce Cameron

      Former rodeo star Johnson broke into the movie business in 1940, first as a horse wrangler and later as a double for cowboy star Wild Bill Elliott. After years of stuntwork, he was "discovered" by director John Ford, who may have seen another John Wayne in the tall, good-looking, slow-drawling Oklahoman. Johnson eased into acting with supporting roles in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Mighty Joe Young (both 1949), and Rio Grande (1950), and Ford starred him with Harry Carey, Jr., in Wagon Master (1950), but the likable Johnson just didn't seem to be star material. He returned to character parts, mostly in Westerns (including Shane, One-Eyed Jacks and Hang 'em High and matured into a fine, if limited, actor. (He never forsook his roots; in 1953 he was the World's Champion Steer Roper.) He was a favorite of director Sam Peckinpah, and appeared in his Major Dundee (1965), The Wild Bunch (1969), Junior Bonner and The Getaway (both 1972). Johnson's career took a major leap forward when he won an Oscar for his performance as Sam the Lion, the theater owner in The Last Picture Show (1971). He subsequently appeared in Dillinger (1973, as Melvin Purvis), The Sugarland Express (1974), Bite the Bullet (1975), Breakheart Pass (1976), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1977), The Swarm (1978), Tex (1982), Red Dawn (1984), My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991), and Radio Flyer (1992), among others. More recently, he appeared in Angels in the Outfield (1994) and Outlaws (1995). Johnson's weather-beaten features make him an icon for any filmmaker chronicling the American West-past or present.
      Copyright © 1994 Leonard Maltin, used by arrangement with Signet, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.

      Personal quotes
      "Everybody in town's a better actor than I am, but none of them can play Ben Johnson."

      "You know, I'd say that aside from Mr. Ford's help in my career, I'd lay any success I've had to not expecting too much. I never expected to become a star and was always content to stay two or three rungs down the ladder and last awhile. When I do get a little ahead, I see what I can do to help others."

      [On leaving Oklahoma for Hollywood, where he became a horse wrangler for Howard Hawks on
      'The Outlaw' (1943)] "I'd been making a dollar a day as a cowboy, and my first check in Hollywood was for $300.
      After that, you couldn't have driven me back to Oklahoma with a club."

      1. The Evening Star (1996) .... Arthur Cotton
      2. Ruby Jean and Joe (1996) (TV) .... Big Man
      3. Bonanza: Under Attack (1995) (TV) .... Bronc Evans
      4. Angels in the Outfield (1994) .... Hank Murphy
      ... aka Angels (UK)
      5. The Outlaws: Legend of O.B. Taggart (1994)
      6. Bonanza: The Return (1993) (TV) .... Bronc Evans
      7. Radio Flyer (1992) .... Geronimo Bill
      8. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991) .... Jesse Dalton
      9. The Chase (1991) (TV) .... Laurienti
      10. Back to Back (1990) .... Eli Hix
      11. The Last Ride (1989)
      12. Dark Before Dawn (1988) .... The Sheriff
      13. Stranger on My Land (1988) (TV) .... Vern Whitman
      14. Cherry 2000 (1987) .... Six-Fingered Jake, Tracker
      15. Let's Get Harry (1986) .... Harry Burck Sr.
      ... aka The Rescue
      16. "Dream West" (1986) (mini) TV Series .... Jim Bridger
      17. Trespasses (1986) .... August Klein
      18. Wild Horses (1985) (TV) .... Bill Ward
      19. Red Dawn (1984) .... Mr. Mason
      20. Champions (1984) .... Burly Cocks
      21. The Shadow Riders (1982) (TV) .... Uncle 'Black Jack' Traven
      ... aka Louis L'Amour's The Shadow Riders
      22. Tex (1982) .... Cole Collins
      23. Ruckus (1981) .... Mr. Sam Bellows
      24. Terror Train (1980) .... Carne, Train Conductor
      25. The Hunter (1980) .... Sheriff Strong
      26. Wild Times (1980) (TV) .... Doc Bogardus
      27. Soggy Bottom, USA (1980) .... Isum Gorch
      28. The Sacketts (1979) (TV) .... Cap Roundtree
      29. The Swarm (1978) .... Felix
      30. Grayeagle (1978) .... John Colter
      31. The Greatest (1977) .... Hollis
      32. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1977) .... Captain J.D. Morales
      33. The Savage Bees (1976) (TV) .... Sheriff Donald McKew
      34. Hustle (1975) .... Marty Hollinger
      35. Breakheart Pass (1975) .... Deputy U.S. Marshal Nathan Pearce
      36. Bite the Bullet (1975) .... Mister
      37. Locusts (1974) (TV) .... Amos Fletcher
      38. The Sugarland Express (1974) .... Captain Harlin Tanner
      39. Blood Sport (1973) (TV) .... Dwayne Birdsong
      40. Kid Blue (1973) .... Sheriff 'Mean John' Simpson
      41. Runaway! (1973) (TV) .... Holly Gibson
      ... aka The Frozen Passage (UK: theatrical title)
      ... aka The Runaway Train (UK)
      42. Dillinger (1973) .... Melvin Purvis
      43. The Red Pony (1973) (TV) .... Jess Taylor
      44. The Train Robbers (1973) .... Jesse
      45. The Getaway (1972) .... Jack Beynon
      46. Junior Bonner (1972) .... Buck Roan
      47. Corky (1972) .... Boland
      48. "Gunsmoke"
      ... aka Gun Law (UK)
      - Drago (1971) TV Episode .... Hannon
      - Quaker Girl (1966) TV Episode .... Vern Morland
      - Quint-Cident (1963) TV Episode .... Ben Crown
      49. The Last Picture Show (1971) .... Sam the Lion
      50. "Bonanza"
      ... aka Ponderosa (USA: rerun title)
      - Top Hand (1971) TV Episode .... Kelly James
      - Deserter, the (II) (1969) TV Episode .... Sgt. Samuel Bellis
      - The Gamble (1962) TV Episode .... Deputy Sheriff Stan Mace
      51. The Bull of the West (1971) (TV) .... Spinner
      ... aka Hot Lead
      ... aka Vengeance Is the Spur (USA)
      52. Something Big (1971) .... Jesse Bookbinder
      53. Chisum (1970) .... James Pepper
      54. The Undefeated (1969) .... Short Grub
      55. The Wild Bunch (1969) .... Tector Gorch
      56. "Disneyland"
      ... aka Disney's Wonderful World (USA: new title)
      ... aka The Disney Sunday Movie (USA: new title)
      ... aka The Magical World of Disney (USA: new title)
      ... aka The Wonderful World of Disney (USA: new title)
      ... aka Walt Disney (USA: new title)
      ... aka Walt Disney Presents (USA: new title)
      ... aka Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (USA: new title)
      - Ride a Northbound Horse: Part 2 (1969) TV Episode
      - Ride a Northbound Horse: Part 1 (1969) TV Episode
      - Ten Who Dared (1968) TV Episode .... George Bradley
      57. Ride a Northbound Horse (1969) (TV)
      58. "The Virginian"
      ... aka The Men from Shiloh (new title)
      - Vision of Blindness (1968) TV Episode .... Jed Cooper
      - Johnny Moon (1967) TV Episode .... Joe Hogan
      - Dangerous Road (1965) TV Episode .... Jim Brandt
      - Duel at Shiloh (1963) TV Episode .... Spinner
      59. Hang 'Em High (1968) .... Marshal Dave Bliss
      60. Will Penny (1968) .... Alex (Flat Iron Ranch foreman)
      61. "The Monroes" (1966) TV Series .... Sleeve (1966-1967)
      62. "ABC Stage 67"
      - Noon Wine (1966) TV Episode .... Sheriff Barbee
      63. The Rare Breed (1966) .... Jeff Harter
      64. "Branded"
      - McCord's Way (1966) TV Episode .... Bill Latigo
      65. "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre"
      ... aka The Chrysler Theater
      ... aka Universal Star Time (syndication title)
      - March from Camp Tyler (1965) TV Episode .... Burt Wade
      66. Major Dundee (1965) .... Sgt. Chillum
      67. "Perry Mason"
      - The Case of the Reckless Rock Hound (1964) TV Episode .... Kelly
      68. Cheyenne Autumn (1964) (uncredited) .... Trooper Plumtree
      ... aka John Ford's Cheyenne Autumn (USA: complete title)
      69. "Stoney Burke"
      - Point of Honor (1962) TV Episode .... Rex Donally
      70. "Have Gun - Will Travel"
      - The Fifth Bullet (1962) TV Episode .... John Bartlett
      - The Race (1961) TV Episode .... Sam Crabbe
      - A Head of Hair (1960) TV Episode
      71. "Route 66"
      - A Long Piece of Mischief (1962) TV Episode .... Del
      72. "Laramie"
      - Widow in White (1961) TV Episode .... Tarp
      - A Sound of Bells (1960) TV Episode .... Driver
      - Hour After Dawn (1960) TV Episode
      73. Tomboy and the Champ (1961) .... Uncle Jim
      74. One-Eyed Jacks (1961) .... Bob Amory
      75. Ten Who Dared (1960) .... George Bradley
      76. "Border Patrol"
      ... aka U.S. Border Patrol (USA)
      - Everglades Story (1959) TV Episode
      77. "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"
      - And the Desert Shall Blossom (1958) TV Episode .... Sheriff
      78. "The Restless Gun"
      - No Way to Kill (1958) TV Episode .... Sheriff Tim Malachy
      79. "Navy Log"
      - Florida Weekend (1958) TV Episode .... Border Patrol Officer
      80. "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet"
      ... aka Ozzie and Harriet
      - Top Gun (1958) TV Episode .... Tex Barton
      81. Fort Bowie (1958) .... Capt. Thomas Thompson
      82. Slim Carter (1957) .... Montana Burriss
      83. War Drums (1957) .... Luke Fargo
      84. "Cavalcade of America"
      ... aka DuPont Presents the Cavalcade Theatre (USA: fourth season title)
      ... aka DuPont Theater (USA: fifth season title)
      - Once a Hero (1956) TV Episode
      85. Rebel in Town (1956) .... Frank Mason
      86. Oklahoma! (1955) (uncredited) .... Wrangler
      87. Simba (1955) .... Kimani
      ... aka Simba - Mark of Mau Mau!
      88. Shane (1953) .... Chris Calloway
      89. Wild Stallion (1952/I) .... Dan Light
      90. Fort Defiance (1951) .... Ben Shelby
      91. Rio Grande (1950) .... Trooper Travis Tyree
      ... aka John Ford and Merian C. Cooper's Rio Grande (USA: complete title)
      92. Wagon Master (1950) .... Travis Blue
      93. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) .... Sgt. Tyree
      94. Mighty Joe Young (1949) .... Gregg
      ... aka Mr. Joseph Young of Africa
      95. 3 Godfathers (1948) .... Posse man #1
      96. The Gallant Legion (1948) (uncredited)
      97. Badman's Territory (1946) (uncredited) .... Deputy
      98. The Naughty Nineties (1945) (uncredited) .... Coach driver
      99. Nevada (1944) (uncredited) .... Saloon Patron
      100. Tall in the Saddle (1944) (uncredited) .... Townsman
      101. Bordertown Gun Fighters (1943) (uncredited) .... Messenger
      102. The Outlaw (1943) (uncredited)
      103. The Fighting Gringo (1939) (uncredited) .... Mexican Barfly

      1. Oklahoma! (1955) (stunt double) (uncredited)
      2. 3 Godfathers (1948) (stunts) (uncredited)
      3. The Kissing Bandit (1948) (stunts) (uncredited)
      4. Red River (1948) (stunts) (uncredited)
      5. The Gallant Legion (1948) (stunts) (uncredited)
      6. Fort Apache (1948) (stunts) (uncredited)
      ... aka War Party
      7. Wyoming (1947) (stunts) (uncredited)
      8. Ramrod (1947) (stunts) (uncredited)
      9. Angel and the Badman (1947) (stunt double) (uncredited)
      ... aka The Angel and the Outlaw
      10. Out California Way (1946) (stunt double: Monte Hale) (uncredited)
      11. Smoky (1946) (stunts) (uncredited)
      12. Badman's Territory (1946) (stunts) (uncredited)
      13. California Gold Rush (1946) (stunt double) (uncredited)
      14. Santa Fe Saddlemates (1945) (stunt double) (uncredited)
      15. Nevada (1944) (stunts) (uncredited)
      16. The Old Texas Trail (1944) (stunts) (uncredited)
      ... aka Stagecoach Line (UK)
      17. Tall in the Saddle (1944) (stunts) (uncredited)
      18. Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943) (stunt double) (uncredited)
      19. Blazing Guns (1943) (stunts) (uncredited)
      20. Bordertown Gun Fighters (1943) (stunts) (uncredited)
      21. Arizona Trail (1943) (stunt double) (uncredited)
      22. Riders of the Rio Grande (1943) (stunts) (uncredited)
      23. The Outlaw (1943) (stunts) (uncredited)
      24. The Durango Kid (1940) (stunt double) (uncredited)
      ... aka The Masked Stranger (UK)
      25. The Fighting Gringo (1939) (stunts) (uncredited)

      1. Ben Johnson: Third Cowboy on the Right (1996) .... Himself
      2. 100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994) (TV) .... Himself
      3. Warren Oates: Across the Border (1993) .... Himself
      4. Picture This: The Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas (1991) .... Himself
      5. Thank Ya, Thank Ya Kindly (1991) (TV) .... Himself
      6. John Ford (1990) (TV) .... Himself
      7. Hollywood on Horses (1989) (V) .... Himself
      8. "Oklahoma Passage" (1989) (mini) TV Series .... Himself
      9. "Étoiles et toiles"
      - Episode dated 14 April 1986 (1986) TV Episode .... Himself
      10. Inside 'The Swarm' (1978) (TV) .... Himself
      11. The 48th Annual Academy Awards (1976) (TV) .... Himself - Co-presenter: Best Supporting Actor
      12. The 44th Annual Academy Awards (1972) (TV) .... Himself - Best Supporting Actor Winner
      13. "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson"
      ... aka The Best of Carson (USA: rerun title)
      - Episode dated 17 February 1972 (1972) TV Episode .... Himself

      Archive Footage
      1. Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade (2004) (TV) .... Himself
      2. AFI's 100 Years, 100 Thrills: America's Most Heart-Pounding Movies (2001) (TV) .... Himself
      3. The 69th Annual Academy Awards (1997) (TV) .... Himself (Memorial Tribute)

      Watch Ben Johnson Trailers:-

      Ben's Video Gallery
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 18 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Ben "Son" Johnson, Jr. was a world champion rodeo cowboy, stuntman, and rancher.


      Ben Johnson, talented horseman, and actor, made 10 films with Duke,

      The Train Robbers (1973) .... Jesse
      Chisum (1970) .... James Pepper
      The Undefeated (1969) .... Short Grub
      Rio Grande (1950) .... Trooper Travis Tyree
      She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) .... Sgt. Tyree
      Red River (1948) (stunts) (uncredited)
      Fort Apache (1948) (stunts) (uncredited)
      3 Godfathers (1948) .... Posse man #1.... (stunts) (uncredited)
      Angel and the Badman (1947) (stunt double) (uncredited)
      Tall in the Saddle (1944) (uncredited) .... Townsman....(stunts) (uncredited)

      Ben, once said of Duke's honesty,
      If he told you tomorrow's Christmas, you would get your stocking ready,
      He was that kind of person
      On the set of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,
      he claimed, he and Duke had a similar approach to acting,
      and he said,
      Duke's idea was,"How would John Wayne do it?"..
      and that's the same theory I've got.I don't consider myself an actor;
      I consider myself a character, Ben Johnson.
      Everybody in town, is a better actor than I am,
      but I can play the hell out of Ben Johnson.
      Duke more or less played himself.
      During the night at location in MV, Ben, recalled the extraordinary evenings,,
      the poker games and the sing-a-longs.
      Just behind Goulding's Lodge, was a gigantic rock wall.
      'Right down below us,like a quarter of a mile.....
      a fire would start up, and the Indians, would start singing and dancing.
      The sound bounced off this rock wall, and out into the valley..
      it was the eeriest sound.

      I personally think Ben Johnson, was more than a character actor,
      I think he was a star in own right, and won an Academy Award to vindicate this.
      During the filming of The Train Robbers, Ben was nominated for an Academy Award
      for his supporting role in The Last Picture Show
      At the time, Ben was with Duke in Durango, Duke loaned Ben his plane, wished him luck and sent him to LA.
      Ben returned with an Oscar in his hand, and Duke's faith in unaffected acting was again confirmed.

      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 4 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Hi nathan_brittles,

      Nathan, you are probabaly aware of this, but folks who are not.

      Ben, was not used in The Searchers , as he fell out with Ford big time,
      during the making of Rio Grande ,
      After the filming of the Indian attack on the Catholic church,
      Ben, Duke, Ford, and Maureen and Dobe Carey, were having dinner,
      when Ben drawled,
      Well. there was a lot of shootin', but not too many Indians bit the dust.

      It was an off the cuff, comic remark, but Ford was furious,
      he said,
      What did you say?

      I was just talkin' to Dobe,Mr. Ford,

      Ben replied
      I know, what did you say?

      Ford got nasty,called him stupid, the whole row blew up,
      and Ben stormed off.
      Ford, knew he had 'screwed up, because Ben had a quiet temperament.
      Ben Johnson remained on the film,
      but Ford dropped him from his Stock company,
      and it was 13 years, before the two worked together again.

      Hope this explains it,
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Originally posted by chester7777@Feb 17 2006, 01:24 AM
      I really enjoyed his portrayal of trooper Travis Tyree in[b] Rio Grande and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, one tough hombre, but very likeable. ;)

      Chester  :newyear:


      I agree 100%, he was just like seeing an old friend in a movie.

      Baby Sis

      :cowboy: :cowboy: :cowboy:
      "Give me a man like Duke Wayne"...Marueen O'Hara
    • Until we started really watching JW movies in earnest, we didn't really know who Ben Johnson was. But we do now!

      Here are some interesting sites, that might offer some more perspective on this actor -

      Award Winners - Ben Johnson
      Ben Johnson in the Encyclohopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture
      Notable Names Database - Ben Johnson

      USA Deep South - Ben Johnson
      Great Character Actors - Ben Johnson…ing%20men/BenJohnson.html

      Mrs. C :angel1:

      The post was edited 6 times, last by chester7777: Repair or remove bad links ().

    • Hey Mrs. C,

      This is really good. I didn’t know all that. I seem to learn more and more everyday.

      Cheers B)

      "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"
      - John Wayne quote
    • Hi all,
      I agree with all of you about Ben Johnson, I like him in all Duke movies, but what I like best is his way of riding a horse - it is a sight for sore eyes! Expecially at She wore a yellow Ribbon. And how can we forget Roman style riding in Rio Grande. The detailes of prepearing it was well described by Harry Carey Jr. in his book.
      Vera :rolleyes:
    • Ben Johnson was always a Gentleman and always EZ to be around. :) The last time that I saw and talked to Ben was at Duke's 80th Birthday Party in Sedona, Arizona back in the 1980s. Every one liked him But John Ford! :fear2:

      You can go to the Sites Below for a few Pictures of Him and a Little more Info. on His Falling out with John Ford. But any time Ford wanted some one that could "Ride a Horse Hell Bent For Leather" he went to Ben Johnson :angry:

      Ben Johnson was the Best on Horse Back that I had ever Seen! :rolleyes:

      Ben Johnson


      Chilibill :cowboy:
    • Ben Johnson has always been one of my favorites. Never saw him in a role I didn't like. But, what he said about not taking that role in The Last Picture Show because he didn't approve of nudity and cursing in movies doesn't make sense. Four years earlier, he did The Wild Bunch and he and Warren Oates had some scenes in a vat of wine with two half naked Mexican women. Didn't seem to mind then. Still, I do agree with him. I like to see naked women on the screen as much as anyone and the cursing doesn't bother me much, unless they start using Jesus Christ name in them but, I don't think they need that stuff in a movie for it to be a good movie. It's just uneccessary.