Rita Johnson (Rita Ann Johnson)

Rita Johnson

Rita Johnson was born Rita Ann Johnson in Worcester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Lillian Johnson. She worked as a waitress in her mother’s lunchroom and sold hot dogs on the Boston-Worcester turnpike. She 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. Rita Johnson began acting on Broadway in 1935 and started her film career two years later. She played a murderess in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) and a doomed wife in the RKO film noir They Won’t Believe Me (1947). Johnson suffered injuries (attributed to a falling hair dryer) to her head and legs September 6, 1948, requiring brain surgery and causing her film career to come almost to a complete stop. A newspaper article three years afterward reported, “It took her a year to recover. Her left side was paralyzed temporarily, and for a while she couldn’t walk.” Her screen time in movies after that was limited due to her reduced mobility and powers of concentration. She also suffered from alcoholism from the time of her injuries until her death of a brain hemorrhage on October 31, 1965, at age 52. Rita Johnson was married to businessman L. Stanley Kahn. They were granted a divorce June 29, 1943.

More Images

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  • Rita Johnson-1941-Hers Comes Mr Jordan -


  • August, 13, 1913
  • USA
  • Worcester, Massachusetts


  • October, 31, 1965
  • USA
  • Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • brain hemorrhage


  • Holy Cross Cemetery
  • Culver City, California
  • USA

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