Star Archive

John Justin (1917 - 2002)

John Justin is yet another example of an actor who used the occasional film role to subsidise his theatre work. Indeed, he considered his film career a mistake. Yet there was one film role for which he will always be remembered long after his theatre work has faded from the memory.

He was born John Justinian de Ledesma. His father was an Argentinean who farmed in England.  Justin wanted to go on stage from an early age, despite the opposition of his father. He started his career at Plymouth Rep and had a short stint at RADA though he seems to have left because he preferred more practical learning.

His big break in cinema came with The Thief of Bagdad, Alexander Korda's troubled epic. Despite the production problems the film turned out to be a classic and Justin's performance as the handsome hero contributed hugely to its success. 

Korda signed him to a seven-year contract but the war and his lack of interest in cinema (he joined the RAF), meant he only made occasional guest appearances. He re-established his film career with Lean's The Sound Barrier and made a series of largely indifferent films. He even got himself a film star wife, Barbara Murrey (the second of three marriages).

But it was the stage he returned to time and again. He did seasons at Stratford and The Old Vic, and was particularly associated with the Regent's Park open air theatre.


1937 Dark Journey
1940 The Thief of Bagdad
1943 The Gentle Sex
1945 Journey Together
1948 Call of the Blood
1950 The Angel With the Trumpet
1952 The Sound Barrier
1952 Hot Ice
1952 The Village
1953 Melba
1953 King of the Khyber Rifles
1954 Seagulls over Sorento
1954 The Teckman Mystery
1955 The Man Who Loved Redheads
1955 Untamed
1956 Safari
1956 Guilty
1956 Island in the Sun
1960 Spider's Web
1962 The Golden Salamander
1965 Les Hommes Veluent
1972 Savage Messiah
1973 Savage Messiah
1973 Barcelona Kill
1975 Lisztomania
1977 Valentino
1978 The Big Sleep
1983 Trenchcoat

 John Justin at Amazon UK

 John Justin at Amazon US