Celia Johnson

Active - 1942 - 1980  |   Born - Dec 18, 1908   |   Died - Apr 25, 1982   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Though she made comparatively few screen appearances, Celia Johnson was, during the war years, one of England's favorite film actresses. An alumnus of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Johnson made her first professional stage appearance in 1928. She would not appear in a film until 1942's In Which We Serve, and then only by special request of director Noel Coward; as the steadfast spouse of a British naval officer (Coward), the actress was the apotheosis of all gallant British war wives. In 1945, she co-starred with Trevor Howard in another Noel Coward effort, Brief Encounter, arguably the best of the tear-stained British romance films of the 1940s (with requisite classical-music score). After a handful of subsequent films, Johnson returned full time to the stage, returning to movies in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, for which she received a British Film Academy award. Knighted in 1981, the actress was billed as Dame Celia Johnson for her last appearance in the British TV drama Staying On, where she was reunited with Trevor Howard. Celia Johnson was the widow of actor Peter Fleming.

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