A former pianist and radio actress, Rita Johnson was on Broadway from 1935 and in films from 1937. An extraordinarily versatile performer, Johnson managed to play virtually every sort of role open to an actress of above-average beauty and intelligence in the 1940s. Portraying standard heroines in such films as Edison the Man (1940) and My Friend Flicka (1943), Johnson brought far more warmth and humanity to the parts than the scripts provided. She was equally as persuasive as haughty murderess Julia Farnsworth in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) and as the hissable "other woman" in films like The Major and the Minor (1944). It is positively criminal that no Academy Award came Johnson's way for her astonishing portrayal of the born-to-be-killed wife of unscrupulous Robert Young in 1947's They Won't Believe Me. Johnson's film career came to a screeching halt after a 1948 accident that required delicate brain surgery; thereafter, her screen time was extremely limited, in keeping with her radically reduced mobility and powers of concentration. Fifty-three-year-old Rita Johnson died of a brain hemorhage in her Hollywood home in 1965.