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      Arnold Johnson

      Arnold Johnson

      Highest Rated: 69% Putney Swope (1969)

      Lowest Rated: 69% Putney Swope (1969)

      Birthday: Nov 15, 1921

      Birthplace: New York, USA

      Arnold Johnson, best known for his premiere film role as the title character in the 1969 satire "Putney Swope," was orphaned by age four. He pursued drama, and graduated from New York University before taking his first acting jobs Off-Broadway. It was in New York that he met film writer/director Robert Downey Sr., father of present day Hollywood star Robert Downey, Jr. The elder Downey cast Johnson as the lead in his scathing satire of Madison Avenue's advertising culture, "Putney Swope." The plot revolved around the only black member of an ad agency's staff being put in charge, providing a cultural and race-relations critique that made the film a cult hit. However, it was Johnson's first film role, and he struggled to learn his lines in time for the shoot, so ultimately, Downey overdubbed all Johnson's dialogue during postproduction. Despite this production gaffe, Johnson developed an impressive career in film and television, accruing over 40 acting credits. Notably, his first foray earned him much love in the African-American community, and much of his career was in films and television shows like the exploitation classic "Shaft," the sitcom "Sanford and Son," the comp drama "Hill Street Blues" and the classic sitcom "Family Matters." Johnson died at age 78, and his last film was the straight-to-video prison drama "15 to Life," written by, directed by, and starring Moon Jones.

      Highest rated movies

      Putney Swope poster
      Putney Swope


      MENACE II SOCIETY, Toshi Toda, Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, 1993. (c) New Line Cinema. MENACE II SOCIETY, Larenz Tate, Arnold Johnson, Tyrin Turner, 1993. (c) New Line Cinema.



      No Score Yet 46% My Demon Lover Fixer (Character) $3.9M 1987
      69% 76% Putney Swope Putney Swope (Character) - 1969


      No Score Yet No Score Yet Buddies Unknown (Guest Star) 1996
      No Score Yet 90% The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Unknown (Guest Star) 1992
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Matlock Unknown (Guest Star) 1989
      No Score Yet 82% Amazing Stories Unknown (Character) 1985-1986
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Highway to Heaven Deadwood (Guest Star) 1984
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Simon & Simon Unknown (Guest Star) 1983
      No Score Yet No Score Yet The Jeffersons Buddy (Guest Star) 1978
      No Score Yet 100% Sanford and Son Unknown (Guest Star) 1975-1976
      No Score Yet 100% Good Times Hubert Johnson (Guest Star) 1975