Canadian Track and Field athlete, born December 30, 1961 in Jamaica. Famous for setting the men's 100m record in Seoul in the 1988 Olympics, only to test positive for abuse of Steroids. He received a two year suspension. Ben attempted rehabilitation several times, only to be busted again and again for drug use. Recently seen racing horses in Prince Edward Island and as a personal trainer in Libya.

1920-1996 Former rodeo rider who became a prolific Hollywood character actor from the 1940s to the 1990s. Johnson was brought to California and introduced into the movie business by Howard Hughes, and after a decade of working as horse wrangler and stuntman in Westerns, he finally graduated to acting in the late 1940s.

Johnson was discovered by John Ford and became a member of the informal John Ford Stock Company, resulting in roles in five of the legendary director's movies, including She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande. All except one, 1950's Wagon Master, were supporting roles. Master flopped during its' initial release but was rediscovered in later decades as one of Ford's greatest achievements. At the time though it had no positive effect on Johnson's career, and after a brief return to the rodeo circuit he continued to appear in supporting parts throughout the 1950s and 1960s, most notably Shane and Marlon Brando's One-Eyed Jacks.

In 1965 Johnson was cast in Sam Peckinpah's notoriously bowdlerized Major Dundee beginning a four-movie collaboration. Johnson gave a terrific performance in The Wild Bunch as Bunch-member Tector Gorch and appeared in prominent supporting roles in Junior Bonner and Peckinpah's first movie version of Jim Thompson's The Getaway.

But it was in a different kind of Western that turned Johnson's career around in the 1970s. By then in his early fifties, Johnson was cast, almost against his will, in Peter Bogdanovich's first studio production, The Last Picture Show. He was to play Sam the Lion, the moral center of the story, but taken aback by the profane dialogue Johnson was reluctant to take part in the movie. Bogdanovich took advantage of his acquaintance with Johnson's old friend John Ford, who prodded Johnson into accepting the role. The result was one of the most recognizable performances of the 1970s, which garnered Johnson an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, the first and only time he was ever nominated.

After this triumph Johnson was given bigger and better roles, appearing in numerous popular productions like Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express and Richard Brooks' Bite the Bullet. He continued to act both in movies and on television well into his seventies, his last performance being in 1996's The Evening Star, which was released after his death. Johnson died of a heart attack while visiting his mother in the Mesa, Arizona retirement community where they both have lived. He was 75 years old.

Captain Ben Johnson.

When a lad he had served as a midshipman in an East Indiaman, the Asia, but having been caught red-handed robbing the purser of brandy and wine, he was flogged and sent to serve as a sailor before the mast. In 1750, while in the Red Sea, he deserted his ship and entered the service of the Sultan of Ormus. Finding Johnson to be a clever sailor, the Sultan appointed him admiral of his pirate fleet of fourteen vessels. The young admiral became a convert to Brahminism, and was ceremoniously blessed by the arch-priests of the Temple. Amongst his crew Johnson had some two hundred other Englishmen, who also became followers of Brahmin, each of whom was allowed, when in port, a dancing girl from the Temple.

Johnson proved a most capable and bloodthirsty pirate, playing havoc with the shipping of the Red Sea, taking also several towns on the coast, and putting to death his prisoners, often after cruel tortures. His boldest exploit was to attack the fortified town of Busrah. This he did, putting the Sheik and most of the inhabitants to death, and taking back to his master, the Sultan, vast plunder of diamonds, pearls, and gold.

On another occasion Johnson landed his crews on the Island of Omalee, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, a favourite place of pilgrimage, and raided the temples of the Indian God Buddha. Putting to death all the two thousand priests, he cut off the noses and slit the upper lips of seven hundred dancing girls, only sparing a few of the best looking ones, whom he carried away with him along with plunder worth half a million rupees.

On their way back to the Red Sea the pirates met with an English East Indiaman, which they took and plundered, and Johnson, remembering his previous sufferings in the same service, murdered the whole crew.

Shortly afterwards Johnson and ten of his English officers contrived to run away from their master, the Sultan, in his best and fastest lateen vessel, with an enormous booty. Sailing up to the head of the Persian Gulf, Johnson managed to reach Constantinople with his share of the plunder, worth £800,000. With this as an introduction, he was hospitably received, and was made a bashaw, and at the end of a long life of splendour died a natural death.

Taken from The Pirates' Who's Who:Giving Particulars Of The Lives and Deaths Of The Pirates And Buccaneers by Philip Gosse. Originally published by Burt Franklin of 235 East 44th St., New York 10017 in 1924 and in the public domain.

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