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Van Johnson, Lucille Ball and Bobby-Soxers

Hollywood idol Van Johnson, known for his wholesome good looks and roles in "The Caine Mutiny" and other movies, died today at 92. We've got a full obituary live on the site now.

If you'd like to see him in action, there are some options on YouTube. There's one dancing with Lucille Ball.

There's another where Johnson is the mystery guest on "What's My Line?" where a blindfolded contestant asks "Are you particularly appealing to the bobby-soxers?"


By Washington Post Editors  |  December 12, 2008; 2:51 PM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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As an assistant technical director for a dinner theater in the 1970s, I had a chance to meet and befriend Van -- a relationship I enjoyed for many years thereafter.

At his core, I believe he was a good man -- a sincere man who had a genuine like of people and a great charisma. He was a sincere man and I believe he was also quite a lonely man.

If he had any flaws, perhaps his greatest was his trust of, and loyalty to, a succession of incompetent managers, so-called 'friends' and 'family', and typical, self-interested sycophants that were eager to take advantage of his affable nature at every turn.

Despite a bitter biography penned by his troubled daughter, he had great praise for his family and never once did I hear him say anything other than good things about them or anyone else, though he sometimes expressed regret for things he might have done better had he the chance.

God Speed Van. You now rest in the pantheon of those who delighted us all in times both good and bad, and we'll miss you.

Posted by: Frank57 | December 12, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

"Despite a bitter biography penned by his troubled daughter..."
The biography was actually penned by his stepson, Ned Wynn, and is titled WE WILL ALWAYS LIVE IN BEVERLY HILLS: GROWING UP CRAZY IN HOLLYWOOD. This is an hilarious and brutally honest read. Ned, a screenwriter & author, also discusses his recovery from alcoholism.
Van's daughter, Schuyler, has been a friend for about 10 years. She is truly a little girl lost. We also knew her mother, Eve Wynn, a charming lady who died a couple of years ago. Eve could dish juicy Hollywood anecdotes with the best of them - all from first-hand experience. Unfortunately, Schuyler and Eve seemed never able to recover from the excesses and deceptions inherent in the old Hollywood Star System. May God bless and heal them all and may Van Johnson rest in peace in that other Star System.
Mrs. Julian Davies, WPB FL

Posted by: jdavies1 | December 13, 2008 4:14 AM | Report abuse

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