Johann, Zita (1904–1993)

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Johann, Zita (1904–1993)

Hungarian-born stage and film actress. Born near Temesvar, Hungary (now Timisoara, Rumania), on July 14, 1904; died of pneumonia at Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York, on September 24, 1993; her father had been an officer in the emperor's Hussars; attended Bryant High School on Long Island; married John Houseman; married twice more.

Zita Johann was born in Temesvar, Hungary, in 1904. At age seven, she moved with her family to New York City where she appeared in high school productions. After applying to the Theater Guild for work as an understudy, she immediately won roles in touring productions of Peer Gynt, The Devil's Disciple, and He Who Gets Slapped. She made her Broadway debut in 1924 in the Theater Guild's production of Man and the Masses. Other leading roles followed in Machinal (1928), Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1931) as well as other plays. In 1931, she played the wife of a steelworker who succumbs to drink in The Struggle, the last film made by D.W. Griffith. Most memorably, she played Helen Grosvenor in The Mummy (1932). After appearing in Tiger Shark (1932), Luxury Liner (1933), and Grand Canary (1934), she returned to the theater, performing in Panic (1935), Flight into China (1939), The Burning Deck (1940) and The Broken Journey (1942). During World War II, Johann raised money for war-related charities and organized shows for soldiers bound for overseas. From 1939 on, she lived in a pre-Revolutionary house in West Nyack, New York, where she worked with children and teenagers interested in the theater.

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Johann, Zita (1904–1993)

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