A Small Fraternity … Part 2 Ben Johnson

6 Oct

Roy Rogers & Sons Of The Pioneers – Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Stunts to Stars /  A Small Fraternity: 

Ben Johnson

Wikipedia: “Ben “Son” Johnson, Jr. (June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996) was an American stuntman, world champion rodeo cowboy and actor. The son of a rancher, Johnson arrived in Hollywood to deliver a consignment of horses for a film. He did stunt double work for several years before breaking into acting through the good offices of John Ford. Tall and laconic, Johnson brought further authenticity to many roles in Westerns with his extraordinary horsemanship. An elegiac portrayal of a former cowboy theatre owner in the 50’s coming of age drama, The Last Picture Show, won Johnson the 1971 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He operated a horse breeding farm throughout his career. Although he said he had succeeded by sticking to what he knew, shrewd real estate investments made Johnson worth an estimated 100 million dollars by his latter years.

Johnson was born in Foraker, Oklahoma, on the Osage Indian Reservation, of Irish and Cherokee ancestry, the son of Ollie Susan (née Workmon) and Ben Johnson, Sr. His father was a rancher and rodeo champion in Osage County. Throughout his life Johnson was drawn to the rodeos and horse breeding of his early years. In 1953 he took a break from well paid film work to compete in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, becoming Team Roping World Champion although he only broke even financially that year. Johnson was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973.

Johnson’s 1941 marriage to Carol Elaine Jones lasted until her death on March 27, 1994, they had no children. Jones was the daughter of noted Hollywood horse wrangler Clarence “Fat” Jones.

“I grew up on a ranch and I know livestock, so I like working in Westerns. All my life I’ve been afraid of failure. To avoid it, I’ve stuck with doing things I know how to do, and it’s made me a good living.”

You done good Ben.

Ben Johnson 1

Ben Johnson 2

Ben Johnson 3

Young Ben

Ben Johnson 4

Later

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… gentleman Ben

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A drink with Brando / “One Eyed Jacks” 1961

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“One Eyed Jacks” 1961

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“The Sacketts” Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Glenn Ford. 1979

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“The Wild Bunch” 1969 / Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

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“The Wild Bunch” Ben Johnson

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Not photogenic at all …

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15 movies with ‘The Duke’ including “The Train Robbers” 1973

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Ben Johnson / Inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973

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5 Responses to “A Small Fraternity … Part 2 Ben Johnson”

  1. timneath October 11, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    I neve knew that Johnson made so many westerns, I recognise a few but not all, definitely some more to look out for.

    • jcalberta October 11, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Yes .. he just showed up to deliver some horses and seemed never to be out of film work after that. But he never lost his love of rodeo though he still competed in rodeo and was a top Cowboy. I must do a filmography on him. Most of his work was in Westerns.

      • timneath October 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

        He was just made for the genre really, can’t fault any of his work i’ve seen him in. Always gave a decent performance, good or bad guy.

  2. Marilyn Armstrong October 18, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Always liked him. There was something reassuring about him. I don’t know if it was a screen persona or something about his real personality that came across the screen, but he always seemed very solid and centered.

    • jcalberta October 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      There was certainly something about him. People liked the guy.
      Can you imagine making 15 movies with John Wayne? That’s a book in itself.

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