Besedka Johnson Dies, Single-Role Actress Mourned (VIDEO)

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By Emma Koonse , Christian Post Reporter
April 11, 2013|8:38 am

Besedka Johnson, who became an actress at age 85 in the film "Starlet," recently died at age 87.

The critically acclaimed actress died on April 4 at an Arizona hospital following complications from a surgery for a bacterial infection, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Johnson's 2-year acting career only supplied one role in "Starlet." In the film, she portrayed Sadie, an old curmudgeon who befriended Dree Hemingway.

"Besedka showed that no age is too old to do what you dream," said Hemingway in a statement. "I loved her dearly."

Hemingway is the great-great-granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway.

Born Beatrice Vivian Divic, Johnson later changed her name and began using Besedka, the name of her dress shop, as her first name. Johnson admitted she took acting lessons in her 30s just for fun, never thinking they would lead to a role.

It was by sheer happenstance that Johnson met an executive producer for "Starlet" in the locker room of her YMCA gym in Los Angeles who asked her to audition, according to Yahoo! News.

"I thought it has got to be a great big joke," Johnson later explained.

However, the actress added, "When you're this old, it's like let's just go along with it and see what happens."

Meanwhile, "Starlet" director Sean Baker is also mourning the loss of the actress.

"We were all incredibly lucky to have found her," he told The L.A. Times. "She was absolutely wonderful, breathtaking in the film."

Furthermore, Baker took to Twitter the day Johnson died.

"Our dear friend Besedka Johnson passed away this afternoon at the age of 87," wrote the director. "She changed my life. I thank her from the bottom of my heart."

Other Twitter users are also posting tributes to the late actress as news of her death swept the internet on Thursday.

"This is incredibly sad," wrote Garrick. "#Starlet is one of 2012's best. Absolutely wonderful, genuine, heartfelt performance."

Johnson leaves behind her sons Jim, Marc, and Lloyd Johnson, as well as two granddaughters.

 

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