You Are At: AllSands Home > History > People > Van Johnson biography
Charles Van Johnson was born on August 25, 1916. There isn’t any information on his life before he went into the movies.

Although he played mostly secondary roles, he was very much in demand with his acting style and good looks. He has been acting since 1936 when he made his Broadway debut in the play "New Faces of 1936."

In 1942, he signed a film contract with MGM. His first film was "The War Against Mrs. Hadley." Shortly after making his second film, he was in a very bad car accident, which left him with a metal plate in his head and facial reconstruction surgery. Because of his accident, he was not eligible to serve in the armed forces. After his outstanding performance in "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," in 1944, he became Hollywood’s favorite actor. He remained in demand for fifteen years with his strawberry blond hair, blue eyes and hurt-looking expression.

Johnson was cast in a lot of musicals that co-starred June Allyson or Esther Williams. During the late 1950’s, MGM started to cast Johnson in roles that were more serious since his boy next door charm had worn thin. His first dramatic role was in the film "The Caine Mutiny."

In the late 1950’s and early 1960s, Van Johnson made the transition to television shows and movies. He played the character Minstrel on the Batman television series. He was in the television mini-series "Rich Man, Poor Man.

In the 1980s, Johnson left television to go back to work on the stage. He is currently touring with his one-man show.