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Johnny Downs

Johnny Downs

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Also Known As: Died: June 6, 1994
Born: October 10, 1913 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: Cast ... actor vaudevillian singer dancer
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albatros1 ( 2008-02-20 )

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Johnny Downs (October 10, 1913 - June 6, 1994) was a child actor who played Johnny in the Our Gang short series from 1923 to 1926. He was the son of a Naval officer. Following his stint with Our Gang, Downs stayed with the short-subject series until 1927, appearing in twenty-four two-reelers in various roles. He honed his dancing and singing skills on the vaudeville stage, working prominently on Broadway until returning to Hollywood in 1934. Downs became a fixture of the "college musical" movie cycle of the late '30s, usually cast as a team captain or a cheerleader. His movie career declined just after he returned to Hal Roach to star in a 45-minute feature, All American Co-Ed (1941). From then on he mainly walked the boards in vaudeville, summer stock, and one solid Broadway hit (Are You With It). One of his outstanding cameo appearances is his performance in "Rhapsody in Blue: The George Gershwin Story" (1945) where he sings, plays the mandolin, and tap dances with Joan Leslie during an on-stage performance of Gershwin's Somebody Loves Me. Downs made a short comeback in doing bit parts in the early 1950s. Despite never making it big, he has almost 100 movie credits to his name. In the 1950s and early 1960s, he hosted a local, after school kids' television show in San Diego, California. Downs died of cancer in June 1994. Johnny and his wife June had five children: Mary, Claudia, John Jr., Mollie and Maureen.

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