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Richard Johnson, star of The Haunting and Zombie, has died at age 87

06.08.2015by: Cody Hamman

We haven't even reached the midway point and 2015 has already been an exceptionally rough year when it comes to losing great actors with connections to the horror genre. Just a week after Betsy Palmer passed away, the acting world has lost another powerhouse with the death of British actor Richard Johnson at the age of 87.

Born on July 30, 1927, Johnson received his first screen acting credit in 1950 and kept his career going for more than sixty years, racking up another 135 acting credits, as well as mixing in some producing and writing along the way.

It's no surprise that such a prolific career would include some horror titles. Soon after turning down the chance to play James Bond in DR. NO, saying he "was so right for the part, I would have been wrong," Johnson played Dr. John Markway in Robert Wise's 1963 horror classic THE HAUNTING.

In the '70s, Johnson appeared in a handful of genre offerings from Italian directors - BEYOND THE DOOR, SCREAMERS, THE GREAT ALLIGATOR, and most notably Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE, in which he played Dr. Menard. He also co-starred with Vincent Price, Donald Pleasence, and John Carradine in 1981's THE MONSTER CLUB, and had a villainous role on an episode of TALES FROM THE CRYPT. Quite an impressive list of horror accomplishments.

I had the honor of being in Johnson's presence at a convention several years ago, and while I didn't have a personal interaction with him, it was awesome to be able to sit in on a ZOMBIE reunion Q&A panel to hear him and his co-stars talk for an hour about the experience of making the film and working with Lucio Fulci.

Johnson is survived by his wife Lynne and four children, and leaves behind an incredible career.

Rest in peace, sir.

Extra Tidbit: What is your favorite Richard Johnson role?
Source: BBCCinemaRetro

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