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Dame
Dame
Celia Elizabeth Johnson, DBE (18 December 1908 – 26 April 1982) was an English actress,[1] known for her roles in the films In Which We Serve (1942), This Happy Breed (1944), Brief Encounter
Brief Encounter
(1945) and The Captain's Paradise
The Captain's Paradise
(1953). For Brief Encounter, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. A six-time BAFTA Award nominee, she won the BAFTA Award
BAFTA Award
for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969). Johnson began her stage acting career in 1928, and subsequently achieved success in West End and Broadway productions. She continued performing in theatre for the rest of her life and much of her later work was in television, including winning the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the BBC
BBC
Play for Today, Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (1973). She suffered a stroke and died soon after at the age of 73.

Contents

1 Early life and education 2 Career 3 Awards 4 Personal life 5 Legacy 6 Filmography 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Early life and education[edit] Born in Richmond, Surrey, and nicknamed "Betty", Johnson was the second daughter of Robert and Ethel (née Griffiths) Johnson. Her first public performance was in 1916, when she played a role in a charity performance of King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid to raise funds for returned First World War
First World War
soldiers.[citation needed] She attended St Paul's Girls' School
St Paul's Girls' School
in London from 1919 until 1926, and played in the school's orchestra under Gustav Holst. She acted in school productions, but had no other acting experience, when she was accepted to study at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
in 1926, where she was in the same class as Margaretta Scott. She later spent a term in Paris, studying under Pierre Fresnay
Pierre Fresnay
at the Comédie Française.[citation needed] She later recalled her choice of an acting career with the comment, "I thought I'd rather like it. It was the only thing I was good at. And I thought it might be rather wicked."[2] Career[edit] Her stage début, and first professional role, was as Sarah in George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara
Major Barbara
at the Theatre Royal, Huddersfield
Huddersfield
in 1928. She went to London the following year to take the place of Angela Baddeley
Angela Baddeley
in the part of Currita in A Hundred Years Old, which was performed at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith. In 1930 Johnson played in Cynara with Sir Gerald Du Maurier and Dame
Dame
Gladys Cooper. She made her first trip to the United States the following year to star as Ophelia in a New York City production of Hamlet.[citation needed] She returned to London, where she appeared in a number of minor productions, before establishing herself with a two-year run in The Wind and the Rain (1933–35).[3] She married the journalist Peter Fleming in 1935, and in 1939 gave birth to their first child, a son.[3] Her theatre career flourished with her portrayals of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice
(1940) and the second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca (1940); the production of the latter was halted when the theatre was destroyed by a Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
bomb in September 1940.[citation needed] During the Second World War, Johnson lived with her widowed sister and sister-in-law and helped care for their combined seven children. Unable to commit her time to the often lengthy run of a play, Johnson preferred the less time-consuming schedules of film and radio,[2] that allowed her to devote time to her family, and her work for the Women's Auxiliary Police Corps.[3] She appeared in In Which We Serve
In Which We Serve
(1942) and This Happy Breed (1944), both directed by David Lean
David Lean
and written by Noël Coward. Lean and Coward sought Johnson for the next production, Brief Encounter (1945). She accepted the role with misgivings because of her family responsibilities, but was interested in the part, writing to her husband, "There is no getting away from the fact that it is a very good part and one which I should love to play. I have found myself already planning how I should play bits and how I should say lines..."[2] A romantic drama about a conventional middle class housewife who falls in love with a doctor she meets in the refreshment room at a railway station, the film was well-received, and is now regarded as a classic. Johnson was awarded the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. After the war, Johnson concentrated on her family life, which included two daughters born in 1946 and 1947 and her occasional acting work was secondary for the following decade.[3] In 1952, she opened The Grass is Greener. In 1957 she acted with Ralph Richardson in The Flowering Cherry.[3] As a member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company, Johnson appeared in the plays The Master Builder (1964) with Olivier and Hay Fever (1965), and later reprised her roles in the television productions.[3] Awards[edit] For her role in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), she received the BAFTA Award
BAFTA Award
for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
(CBE) in 1958, "for services to the theatre",[3] and was raised to Dame
Dame
Commander (DBE) in 1981. Personal life[edit] Johnson was married to Peter Fleming from 1935 until Fleming's death from a heart attack in 1971, while on a shooting expedition near Glencoe in Argyll, Scotland. Fleming was the brother of the James Bond creator Ian Fleming. They had three children:

Nicholas Peter Val Fleming (3 January 1939 – 9 May 1995),[4] spent most of his life at the Fleming family home in Nettlebed, Oxfordshire, as a farmer. He was also a journalist, and the author of thriller novels published in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and a non-fiction historical work, August 1939. From his early twenties, he lived with his partner Christopher Balfour, a merchant banker.[5] Kate Fleming (born 1946),[4] now Kate Grimond, is married to John Grimond, former foreign editor of the news magazine The Economist, now writer-at-large for the publication; the couple has three children. Fleming is the author of Celia Johnson: A Biography (1991). Lucy Fleming (born Eve Lucinda Fleming, 15 May 1947),[4] is an actress. In the 1970s she starred as Jenny in the BBC's apocalyptic fiction series Survivors. She is married to the actor and writer Simon Williams.

Since the late 1990s, the two sisters, Kate Grimond and Lucy Fleming, have co-owned the Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming
estate.[citation needed] Johnson distanced herself from her acting career while her children were young, preferring to devote her attention to her family. She was described as a woman "always ready to laugh" and "maternal in a light-hearted way" and her daughter recalled that she was often torn between her desire to care for her family and her need to be involved in the "mechanics" of acting.[2] In 1982, she was touring with Sir Ralph Richardson
Ralph Richardson
in Angela Huth's The Understanding and the play's West End run had been announced. On one of her days off, she was at her home in Nettlebed, Oxfordshire playing bridge with friends, when she collapsed from a stroke. She died a few hours later in her home.[2] She left an estate worth £150,557.[6]

Blue Plaque for Dame
Dame
Celia Johnson

Legacy[edit] On 18 December 2008, to mark the centenary of her birth, a blue plaque was unveiled at her childhood home in Richmond. Among the guests at the ceremony were her daughters, Lucy Fleming and Kate Grimond. In The Times, Grimond noted that the "tragedy of theatre" is that even the best performances fade from memory, and that her mother's current reputation rests almost entirely on her performance in Brief Encounter. Grimond noted that the advent of video allowed the film to be seen by a new audience, and that modern appraisals of the film had led to its being regarded as a classic.[2] Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Other notes

1941 A Letter from Home English Mother

1942 In Which We Serve Mrs. Kinross/Alix

1943 Dear Octopus Cynthia aka The Randolph Family

1944 This Happy Breed Ethel Gibbons National Board of Review Award for Best Actress

1945 Brief Encounter Laura Jesson New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress

1950 The Astonished Heart Barbara Faber

1951 I Believe in You Matty Matheson Nominated – BAFTA Award
BAFTA Award
for Best Actress in a Leading Role

1952 The Holly and the Ivy Jenny Gregory

1953 The Captain's Paradise Maud St. James Nominated – BAFTA Award
BAFTA Award
for Best Actress in a Leading Role

1955 A Kid for Two Farthings Joanna

1957 The Good Companions Miss Trant

1969 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Miss Mackay BAFTA Award
BAFTA Award
for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

1973 Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont Mrs. Palfrey British Academy Television Award
British Academy Television Award
for Best Actress

1978 Les Misérables Sister Simplice

1980 The Hostage Tower Mrs. Wheeler

Staying On Lucy Smalley Granada Nominated – British Academy Television Award
British Academy Television Award
for Best Actress

1981 The Potting Shed

Nominated – British Academy Television Award
British Academy Television Award
for Best Actress

References[edit]

^ Obituary Variety, 28 April 1982. ^ a b c d e f Grimond, Kate (18 December 2008). "Growing up with a movie icon Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
as mum". The Times. London. Retrieved 4 May 2009.  ^ a b c d e f g " Blue plaque
Blue plaque
for actress Celia Johnson". English Heritage. 18 December 2008. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2009.  ^ a b c "The Peerage, Lt.-Col. Robert Peter Fleming". The Peerage. 21 January 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2009.  ^ Hope, Jonathan (9 June 1995). "OBITUARIES: Nichol Fleming". The Independent. Retrieved 5 May 2009.  ^ Douglas-Home 2004.

Further reading[edit]

Douglas-Home, William. "Johnson, Dame
Dame
Celia Elizabeth (1908–1982)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 2004. (accessed 4 January 2009).

External links[edit]

Biography portal Film portal Theatre portal

Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
on IMDb Stage performances in Theatre Archive University of Bristol Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
at the British Film Institute's Screenonline Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
bio Celia Johnson: The Forgotten Elizabeth Bennet

Awards for Celia Johnson

v t e

BAFTA Award
BAFTA Award
for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Billie Whitelaw
Billie Whitelaw
(1968) Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
(1969) Susannah York
Susannah York
(1970) Margaret Leighton
Margaret Leighton
(1971) Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1972) Valentina Cortese
Valentina Cortese
(1973) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1974) Diane Ladd
Diane Ladd
(1975) Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster
(1976) Jenny Agutter (1977) Geraldine Page
Geraldine Page
(1978) Rachel Roberts (1979) Rohini Hattangadi
Rohini Hattangadi
/ Maureen Stapleton
Maureen Stapleton
(1982) Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis
(1983) Liz Smith (1984) Rosanna Arquette
Rosanna Arquette
(1985) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1986) Susan Wooldridge (1987) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1988) Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer
(1989) Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg
(1990) Kate Nelligan (1991) Miranda Richardson
Miranda Richardson
(1992) Miriam Margolyes
Miriam Margolyes
(1993) Kristin Scott Thomas
Kristin Scott Thomas
(1994) Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
(1995) Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche
(1996) Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver
(1997) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1998) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1999) Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(2000) Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly
(2001) Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones
(2002) Renée Zellweger
Renée Zellweger
(2003) Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
(2004) Thandie Newton
Thandie Newton
(2005) Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson
(2006) Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton
(2007) Penélope Cruz
Penélope Cruz
(2008) Mo'Nique
Mo'Nique
(2009) Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter
(2010) Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer
(2011) Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway
(2012) Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence
(2013) Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette
(2014) Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
(2015) Viola Davis
Viola Davis
(2016) Allison Janney
Allison Janney
(2017)

v t e

BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress

Googie Withers
Googie Withers
(1955) Virginia McKenna
Virginia McKenna
(1956) Rosalie Crutchley
Rosalie Crutchley
(1957) Gwen Watford
Gwen Watford
(1959) Catherine Lacey (1960) Billie Whitelaw
Billie Whitelaw
(1961) Ruth Dunning (1962) Brenda Bruce
Brenda Bruce
(1963) Vivien Merchant (1964) Katharine Blake (1965) Gwen Watford
Gwen Watford
(1966) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(1967) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1968) Wendy Craig (1969) Margaret Tyzack
Margaret Tyzack
(1970) Annette Crosbie (1971) Patricia Hayes
Patricia Hayes
(1972) Billie Whitelaw
Billie Whitelaw
(1973) Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
(1974) Lee Remick
Lee Remick
(1975) Annette Crosbie (1976) Siân Phillips
Siân Phillips
(1977) Penelope Keith (1978) Francesca Annis
Francesca Annis
(1979) Cheryl Campbell (1980) Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
(1981) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1982) Beryl Reid
Beryl Reid
(1983) Coral Browne (1984) Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
(1985) Claire Bloom
Claire Bloom
(1986) Anna Massey
Anna Massey
(1987) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(1988) Thora Hird
Thora Hird
(1989) Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg
(1990) Geraldine McEwan (1991) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(1992) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(1993) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(1994) Juliet Aubrey (1995) Jennifer Ehle
Jennifer Ehle
(1996) Gina McKee (1997) Daniela Nardini (1998) Thora Hird
Thora Hird
(1999) Thora Hird
Thora Hird
(2000) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(2001) Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(2002) Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(2003) Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(2004) Anamaria Marinca (2005) Anna Maxwell Martin (2006) Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood
(2007) Eileen Atkins (2008) Anna Maxwell Martin (2009) Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(2010) Vicky McClure
Vicky McClure
(2011) Emily Watson
Emily Watson
(2012) Sheridan Smith
Sheridan Smith
(2013) Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman
(2014) Georgina Campbell (2015) Suranne Jones (2016) Sarah Lancashire
Sarah Lancashire
(2017)

v t e

National Board of Review Award for Best Actress

Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford
(1945) Anna Magnani
Anna Magnani
(1946) Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
(1947) Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
(1948) Gloria Swanson
Gloria Swanson
(1950) Jan Sterling
Jan Sterling
(1951) Shirley Booth
Shirley Booth
(1952) Jean Simmons
Jean Simmons
(1953) Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly
(1954) Anna Magnani
Anna Magnani
(1955) Dorothy McGuire
Dorothy McGuire
(1956) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
(1957) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1958) Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret
(1959) Greer Garson
Greer Garson
(1960) Geraldine Page
Geraldine Page
(1961) Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
(1962) Patricia Neal
Patricia Neal
(1963) Kim Stanley
Kim Stanley
(1964) Julie Christie
Julie Christie
(1965) Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
(1966) Edith Evans
Edith Evans
(1967) Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann
(1968) Geraldine Page
Geraldine Page
(1969) Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
(1970) Irene Papas
Irene Papas
(1971) Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson
(1972) Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann
(1973) Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(1974) Isabelle Adjani
Isabelle Adjani
(1975) Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann
(1976) Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
(1977) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1978) Sally Field
Sally Field
(1979) Sissy Spacek
Sissy Spacek
(1980) Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
(1981) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(1982) Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine
(1983) Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
(1984) Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg
(1985) Kathleen Turner
Kathleen Turner
(1986) Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
/ Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
(1987) Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster
(1988) Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer
(1989) Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow
(1990) Geena Davis
Geena Davis
/ Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon
(1991) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(1992) Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
(1993) Miranda Richardson
Miranda Richardson
(1994) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(1995) Frances McDormand
Frances McDormand
(1996) Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter
(1997) Fernanda Montenegro
Fernanda Montenegro
(1998) Janet McTeer
Janet McTeer
(1999) Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts
(2000) Halle Berry
Halle Berry
(2001) Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
(2002) Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton
(2003) Annette Bening
Annette Bening
(2004) Felicity Huffman
Felicity Huffman
(2005) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2006) Julie Christie
Julie Christie
(2007) Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway
(2008) Carey Mulligan
Carey Mulligan
(2009) Lesley Manville
Lesley Manville
(2010) Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton
(2011) Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain
(2012) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(2013) Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
(2014) Brie Larson
Brie Larson
(2015) Amy Adams
Amy Adams
(2016) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(2017)

v t e

New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress

Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo
(1935) Luise Rainer
Luise Rainer
(1936) Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo
(1937) Margaret Sullavan
Margaret Sullavan
(1938) Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh
(1939) Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn
(1940) Joan Fontaine
Joan Fontaine
(1941) Agnes Moorehead
Agnes Moorehead
(1942) Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino
(1943) Tallulah Bankhead
Tallulah Bankhead
(1944) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1945) Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
(1946) Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr
(1947) Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
(1948) Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
(1949) Bette Davis
Bette Davis
(1950) Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh
(1951) Shirley Booth
Shirley Booth
(1952) Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
(1953) Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly
(1954) Anna Magnani
Anna Magnani
(1955) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1956) Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr
(1957) Susan Hayward
Susan Hayward
(1958) Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
(1959) Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr
(1960) Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
(1961) No Award (1962) Patricia Neal
Patricia Neal
(1963) Kim Stanley
Kim Stanley
(1964) Julie Christie
Julie Christie
(1965) Elizabeth Taylor/ Lynn Redgrave
Lynn Redgrave
(1966) Edith Evans
Edith Evans
(1967) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
(1968) Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
(1969) Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
(1970) Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
(1971) Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann
(1972) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
(1973) Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann
(1974) Isabelle Adjani
Isabelle Adjani
(1975) Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann
(1976) Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton
(1977) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1978) Sally Field
Sally Field
(1979) Sissy Spacek
Sissy Spacek
(1980) Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
(1981) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(1982) Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine
(1983) Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
(1984) Norma Aleandro
Norma Aleandro
(1985) Sissy Spacek
Sissy Spacek
(1986) Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
(1987) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(1988) Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer
(1989) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
(1990) Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster
(1991) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(1992) Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
(1993) Linda Fiorentino (1994) Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh
(1995) Emily Watson
Emily Watson
(1996) Julie Christie
Julie Christie
(1997) Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz
(1998) Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank
(1999) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2000) Sissy Spacek
Sissy Spacek
(2001) Diane Lane
Diane Lane
(2002) Hope Davis
Hope Davis
(2003) Imelda Staunton
Imelda Staunton
(2004) Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon
(2005) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2006) Julie Christie
Julie Christie
(2007) Sally Hawkins
Sally Hawkins
(2008) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(2009) Annette Bening
Annette Bening
(2010) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(2011) Rachel Weisz
Rachel Weisz
(2012) Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
(2013) Marion Cotillard
Marion Cotillard
(2014) Saoirse Ronan
Saoirse Ronan
(2015) Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
(2016) Saoirse Ronan
Saoirse Ronan
(2017)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 32189236 LCCN: n83009533 ISNI: 0000 0001 2126 9090 GND: 128725680 SUDOC: 059426233 BNF: cb13949760x (data) BNE: XX1177174 SN

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