Ben Johnson (I) (1918–1996)

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Born in Oklahoma, Ben Johnson was a ranch hand and rodeo performer when, in 1940, Howard Hughes hired him to take a load of horses to California. He decided to stick around (the pay was good), and for some years was a stunt man, horse wrangler, and double for such stars as John Wayne, Gary Cooper and James Stewart. His break came when John Ford ... See full bio »


(age 77) in Mesa, Arizona, USA

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Known For

The Last Picture Show Sam the Lion
The Wild Bunch Tector Gorch
The Getaway Jack Beynon


Hide Hide Show Show Actor (105 credits)
 1996 The Evening Star
Arthur Cotton
 1996 Ruby Jean and Joe (TV Movie)
Big Man
 1995 Bonanza: Under Attack (TV Movie)
Bronc Evans
 1994 Angels in the Outfield
Hank Murphy
 1993 Bonanza: The Return (TV Movie)
Bronc Evans
 1992 Radio Flyer
Geronimo Bill
 1991 The Chase (TV Movie)
 1989 Back to Back
Eli Hix
 1989 Oklahoma Passage (TV Mini-Series)
- Part Three (1989) ... Host
 1989 The Last Ride (Short)
 1988 Dark Before Dawn
The Sheriff
 1988 Stranger on My Land (TV Movie)
Vern Whitman
 1987 Cherry 2000
Six Fingered Jake
 1987 Trespasses
August Klein
 1986 Let's Get Harry
Harry Burck Sr.
 1986 Dream West (TV Mini-Series)
Jim Bridger
- Part II (1986) ... Jim Bridger
- Dream West (1986) ... Jim Bridger
 1985 Wild Horses (TV Movie)
Bill Ward
 1984 Red Dawn
Mr. Mason
 1984 Champions
Burly Cocks
 1982 The Shadow Riders (TV Movie)
Uncle 'Black Jack' Traven
 1982 Tex
Cole Collins
 1981 Soggy Bottom, U.S.A.
Isum Gorch
 1980 Terror Train
 1980 Ruckus
Sam Bellows
 1980 The Hunter
Sheriff Strong
 1980 Wild Times (TV Mini-Series)
Doc Bogardus
- Episode #1.2 (1980) ... Doc Bogardus
- Episode #1.1 (1980) ... Doc Bogardus
 1979 The Sacketts (TV Mini-Series)
Cap Rountree
- Part II (1979) ... Cap Rountree
- Part I (1979) ... Cap Rountree
 1978 The Swarm
 1977 Grayeagle
John Colter
 1977 The Greatest
 1976 The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Captain J.D. Morales
 1976 The Savage Bees (TV Movie)
Sheriff Donald McKew
 1975 Breakheart Pass
Marshal Pearce
 1975 Hustle
Marty Hollinger
 1975 Bite the Bullet
 1974 Locusts (TV Movie)
Amos Fletcher
 1974 The Sugarland Express
Captain Tanner
 1973 Blood Sport (TV Movie)
Dwayne Birdsong
 1973 Runaway! (TV Movie)
Holly Gibson
 1973 Dillinger
Melvin Purvis
 1973 Kid Blue
Sheriff 'Mean John' Simpson
 1973 The Red Pony (TV Movie)
Jess Taylor
 1973 The Train Robbers
 1972 The Getaway
Jack Beynon
 1972 The Bull of the West (TV Movie)
 1972 Junior Bonner
Buck Roan
 1972 Corky
 1963-1971 Gunsmoke (TV Series)
Hannon / Vern Morland / Ben Crown
- Drago (1971) ... Hannon
- Quaker Girl (1966) ... Vern Morland
- Quint-Cident (1963) ... Ben Crown
 1971 Something Big
Jesse Bookbinder
 1971 The Last Picture Show
Sam the Lion
 1962-1971 Bonanza (TV Series)
Kelly James / Sgt. Samuel Bellis / Deputy Sheriff Stan Mace
- Top Hand (1971) ... Kelly James
- The Deserter (1969) ... Sgt. Samuel Bellis
- The Gamble (1962) ... Deputy Sheriff Stan Mace
 1970 Chisum
James Pepper
 1969 The Undefeated
Short Grub
 1969 The Wild Bunch
Tector Gorch
 1963-1968 The Virginian (TV Series)
Jed Cooper / Joe Hogan / Jim Brandt / ...
- Vision of Blindness (1968) ... Jed Cooper
- Johnny Moon (1967) ... Joe Hogan
- Dangerous Road (1965) ... Jim Brandt
- Duel at Shiloh (1963) ... Spinner
 1968 Hang 'Em High
Marshal Dave Bliss
 1967 Will Penny
Alex - Flat Iron Ranch Foreman
 1966-1967 The Monroes (TV Series)
- Teaching the Tiger to Purr (1967) ... Sleeve
- Manhunt (1967) ... Sleeve
- Race for the Rainbow (1967) ... Sleeve
- To Break a Colt (1967) ... Sleeve
- Range War (1966) ... Sleeve
 1966 ABC Stage 67 (TV Series)
Sheriff Barbee
- Noon Wine (1966) ... Sheriff Barbee
 1966 The Rare Breed
 1966 Branded (TV Series)
Bill Latigo
- McCord's Way (1966) ... Bill Latigo
 1965 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (TV Series)
Burt Wade
- March from Camp Tyler (1965) ... Burt Wade
 1965 Major Dundee
Sgt. Chillum
 1964 Perry Mason (TV Series)
 1964 Cheyenne Autumn
Trooper Plumtree (uncredited)
 1962 Stoney Burke (TV Series)
Rex Donally
- Point of Honor (1962) ... Rex Donally
 1960-1962 Have Gun - Will Travel (TV Series)
John Bartlett / Sam Crabbe / John Anderson
- The Fifth Bullet (1962) ... John Bartlett
- The Race (1961) ... Sam Crabbe
- A Head of Hair (1960) ... John Anderson
 1961-1962 Route 66 (TV Series)
Del McNab / Alley Golden
- A Long Piece of Mischief (1962) ... Del McNab
- Like a Motherless Child (1961) ... Alley Golden
 1960-1961 Laramie (TV Series)
Tarp / Jim - Driver / Billy Pardee
- Widow in White (1961) ... Tarp
- A Sound of Bells (1960) ... Jim - Driver
- Hour After Dawn (1960) ... Billy Pardee
 1961 Tomboy and the Champ
Uncle Jim
 1961 One-Eyed Jacks
Bob Amory
 1960 Ten Who Dared
George Bradley
 1959 Border Patrol (TV Series)
Hank Colman
- Everglades Story (1959) ... Hank Colman
 1958 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series)
Sheriff Jeff
- And the Desert Shall Blossom (1958) ... Sheriff Jeff
 1958 The Restless Gun (TV Series)
Sheriff Tim Malachy
- No Way to Kill (1958) ... Sheriff Tim Malachy
 1958 Navy Log (TV Series)
Border Patrol Officer
- Florida Weekend (1958) ... Border Patrol Officer
 1958 The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (TV Series)
Tex Barton
- Top Gun (1958) ... Tex Barton
 1958 Fort Bowie
Capt. Thomas Thompson
 1957 Slim Carter
Montana Burriss
 1957 War Drums
Luke Fargo
 1956 Cavalcade of America (TV Series)
Cal Bennett
- Once a Hero (1956) ... Cal Bennett
 1956 Rebel in Town
Frank Mason
 1955 Oklahoma!
Wrangler (uncredited)
 1953 Shane
Chris Calloway
 1952 Wild Stallion
Dan Light
 1951 Fort Defiance
Ben Shelby
 1950 Rio Grande
Trooper Travis Tyree
 1950 Wagon Master
Travis Blue
 1949 Mighty Joe Young
 1949 She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
Sgt. Tyree
 1948 3 Godfathers
Posse Man #1
 1948 The Gallant Legion
Texas Ranger (uncredited)
 1947 Wyoming
Cowhand (uncredited)
 1946 Badman's Territory
Deputy Marshal (uncredited)
 1945 The Naughty Nineties
Coach Driver (uncredited)
 1945 Corpus Christi Bandits
2nd Stagecoach Driver (uncredited)
 1944 Nevada
Barfly (uncredited)
 1944 Tall in the Saddle
Townsman (uncredited)
 1944 The Pinto Bandit
Race Contestant (uncredited)
 1943 Bordertown Gun Fighters
Messenger (uncredited)
 1943 The Outlaw
Deputy (uncredited)
 1939 The Fighting Gringo
Mexican Barfly (uncredited)
Show Show Stunts (29 credits)
Show Show Miscellaneous Crew (2 credits)
Show Show Soundtrack (1 credit)
Show Show Self (19 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (13 credits)

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Personal Details

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1 Biographical Movie | 1 Print Biography | 1 Magazine Cover Photo | See more »


6' 2" (1.88 m)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

[asked about Sam Peckinpah] Sam was a fatalist. He was a pretty talented guy, but he didn't care much about life, and some of what he did, he didn't care much about the outcome as long as the movie had blood and guts and thunder. He was pretty dingy. I saved his life about a dozen times, I guess. He'd start drinking whiskey and taking pills and he'd go crazy. He'd go into a bar, walk through the ... See more »


Johnson and his father, Ben Johnson, Sr., were champion steer ropers. The senior Johnson was also a cattleman and rancher who was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1961. The younger Johnson was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1982. See more »


Tall, chesty frame See more »



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