This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (December 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Catherine Townsend Johnson
November 29, 1904
|Died||November 17, 1975 (aged 70)|
|Alma mater||American Academy of Dramatic Arts|
(m. 1928; div. 1946)
|Children||2, including James Cromwell|
Catherine Townsend Johnson (November 29, 1904 – November 17, 1975) was an American stage and film actress.
Johnson was born in Mount Vernon, New York. Her father was architect Thomas R. Johnson, who worked in the firm of Cass Gilbert, the architect of several noteworthy buildings in New York City, including the Woolworth Building, the New York Customs House, and many library buildings. When she was a junior, she dropped out of Grew Seminary to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Her professional acting debut was in Beggar on Horseback, and she acted in R.U.R. in Chicago. She moved to California after appearing in The Little Accident in Providence, Rhode Island. She was accompanied by her soon-to-be husband John Cromwell, who worked as a director in Hollywood.
Johnson's Broadway credits included State of the Union (1945), A Free Soul (1928), Crime (1927), No Trespassing (1926), One of the Family (1925), All Dressed Up (1925), The Morning After (1925), Beggar on Horseback (1925), Beggar on Horseback (1924), and Go West, Young Man (1923).
Johnson was signed to a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by Cecil B. DeMille following a performance of The Silver Cord at the Repertory Theater in Los Angeles, California. The play was produced by Simeon Gest of the Figueroa Playhouse. Her film debut came in Dynamite (1929), written by Jeanie Macpherson and featuring Charles Bickford and Conrad Nagel. Production was delayed while Johnson recovered from an appendectomy.
She went on to appear in The Ship from Shanghai (1930), This Mad World (1930), Billy the Kid (1930), The Spoilers (1930) with Gary Cooper and Betty Compson, DeMille's Madam Satan (1930), Passion Flower (1930), Capra's American Madness (1932), Thirteen Women (1932), Of Human Bondage (which starred Leslie Howard and Bette Davis), Jalna (1935) and Mr. Lucky (1943). Johnson was cast opposite Warner Baxter in a screen adaptation of Such Men Are Dangerous by Elinor Glyn. The story was adapted to the screen by Fox Film.
Johnson's final film appearance was in the 1954 British film Jivaro (also known as Lost Treasure of the Amazon).
[Actor James] Cromwell's mother, Kay Johnson, was a star of early talkies.... His father, John Cromwell, directed such Golden Age classics as Of Human Bondage....