Thursday, March 16, 2006
Albuquerque Ballerina Moved On to Hollywood
By Lloyd Jojola
Journal Staff Writer
Bridget Hollomon Johnston was a natural talent.
A School of American Ballet and Joffrey trained ballerina, she moved from ballet concerts into television shows, commercials and films as a dancer and actress.
After early appearances on such shows as "Sonny & Cher" and in Dick Clark productions, she went on to recurring roles on the soap operas "Days of Our Lives" and "Port Charles." She also appeared in such films as "The Majestic."
And she could be seen in national commercials throughout her life, pitching everything from Dr Pepper and Pepsi to Ford trucks.
Hollomon Johnston she used Bridget Holloman as her professional name died of unknown causes March 7 in Studio City, Calif., where she lived. She was 50.
The former Albuquerque resident is the daughter of retired Air Force Lt. Col. Sidney Johnston and his wife, Suzanne, founder of the New Mexico Ballet.
"She was a natural talent from the beginning," said Suzanne Johnston, who taught dance to her daughter when she was a child. "I think it was just in her heart. She was such a free spirit."
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. March 26 at Heights Presbyterian Church, 8600 Academy NE.
Hollomon Johnston trained on scholarship with the School of American Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Harkness, Ballet West and the New Mexico Ballet, and with such famed dancers as Nathalie Krassovska of Ballet Russe, her résumé reads.
Suzanne Johnston recalled her daughter performing with the New Mexico Ballet in Los Angeles alongside Krassovska and George Zoritch.
"They were both big stars with Ballet Russe, and he (Zoritch) invited us to come out," she said. "Bridget was only 13 at the time."
At about the same age, Hollomon Johnston lived with Krassovska for a year in Dallas, dancing with Krassovska's company. At 15, she studied with the School of American Ballet.
Hollomon Johnston, whose dance training included jazz and tap, was about 18 when she left New York for Los Angeles to pursue television and film work.
Her early work included dancing and announcing on variety shows such as "The Captain & Tennille Show" and the "Krofft Comedy Hour" and a number of appearances on the American Music Awards. She did everything from performing water ballet to being a magician's assistant. She appeared in films such as "New York, New York" and "The Goodbye Girl" as a dancer.
Hollomon Johnston, whose résumé included stage work, began appearing in commercials early on.
"Then she started getting into the soap operas," Suzanne Johnston said. "She was Brenda the nurse on 'Days of Our Lives' for a long time. She was in 'Port Charles,' 'General Hospital.' ''
Born on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., Hollomon Johnston grew up in Albuquerque. She graduated from Eldorado High School early at 16 to pursue her performance career.
"When she was about 2 or 21/2, she had her feet badly burned by an old vaporizer, and the doctors did plastic surgery on 95 percent of each foot," her mother remembered. "The doctor in El Paso said to me, 'You know, Mrs. Johnston, it would be really nice if she could do something like ballet.' I had a school at Holloman Air Force Base ... and I started her in ballet really younger at about age 3 than most children start, because of her feet.
"She enjoyed every moment of it."
Hollomon Johnston's filmography includes lead roles in "Subway Cafe" (2004), "True Vengeance" (1997), "Stoogemania" (1986) "Evils of the Night" (1985) and "Slumber Party '57" (1976), according to www.IMDb.com.
Fowler Johnston, her brother and a deputy chief with the Albuquerque Police Department, was watching "Unsolved Mysteries" on TV not too long ago when Bridget suddenly appeared.
That was typical, he said.
"You don't realize she did so much and then you'd look there and 'Oh, there she is,'" he said.
Standing 5-feet-5, with blond hair and green eyes, Hollomon Johnston was a striking beauty who looked years younger than her age. She loved animals and had a bubbly personality that made her fun to be around. If someone was in need, she was always there, her brother said.
"She would go in for interviews and she would say, 'That doesn't sound like it's for me, but I've got a friend ...' and she would bring them in," Fowler Johnston said. "She would do that all the time. She was always helping out her friends. If somebody needed something, she'd do it."
Hollomon Johnston was primarily involved with her vintage clothing business, Vintage Bridge, in Studio City and shooting commercials around the time of her death.
She is survived by her parents, Sidney and Suzanne Johnston; sister, Pumpkin Cary; brother, Fowler Johnston, all of Albuquerque; and nephew, Tristian Fernandez of Dallas.
Donations may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, 3106 Geneva St., Los Angeles, CA 90020, or the Animal Humane Association of New Mexico.