He was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan and attended the University of Illinois, graduating in 1949 ---after working on the campus radio station and the U of I Theater Guild with his brother, Cos.--- He initially sought employment in Chicago working for advertising agencies, but left for New York to work for Viking Press. His first show business job came when he impulsively stepped into an audition line and was cast in a revival of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
He is best known for his work on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, an American television show (1968-1973), in which he played various characters including a smoking Nazi soldier with the catch phrase Verrry interesting... Johnson indicated later that the phrase came from Desperate Journey, a 1942 World War II film with Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan playing Army Air Forces pilots shot down in Nazi Germany; they managed to cross much of the country without speaking German or knowing the territory, but when captured, their Nazi interrogator doubts their story with the phrase. 
His other iconic Laugh-In character was Tyrone F. Horneigh (the last name a 'clean' spelling of the vulgar term 'horny'), the white-haired, trenchcoat-wearing 'dirty old man' who repeatedly sought to seduce Gladys Ormphby (Ruth Buzzi's brown-clad 'spinster' character) on a park bench. Tyrone would enter the scene, muttering a song, and, spying Gladys on the bench, would sit next to her. He would ask 2 related 'leading questions,' each earning him a hard whack from a shocked Gladys using her purse. His third statement would be an appeal for medical assistance, at which time he would fall off the bench. An example:
- TYRONE: You want to go to my place, and see where I sleep? [WHACK!]
- TYRONE: "You want to go to your place, and see where you sleep? [WHACK!
- TYRONE: You mind if I go to sleep right here? [moans, and falls off bench]
---Arte and his brother, Cos, earned their Emmy Awards while working on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.---
In 1976, Johnson voiced the cartoon character Misterjaw, a blue German accented shark(with a bow tie and top hat) who liked to leap out of the water and shout HEEGotcha! or Gotcha! at unsuspecting folks on the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises produced The Pink Panther Laugh and a Half Hour and a Half Show.
Later in the seventies, he hosted the NBC game show Knockout.
In the 1990s Johnson voiced Newt, a hunting dog on the cartoon Animaniacs, who futilely became enamoured of his target, a sexy female mink named Minerva.
Arte Johnson Facts
|Birth Name||Arthur Stanton Eric Johnson|
|Birthday||January 20, 1929 (88)|
|Birthplace||Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA|
|What Comes Around|
|The Whole Truth|
|The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas|
|Cannonball Run 2|
|Alice in Wonderland|
|Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers|
|The Love Boat: Season 1, Vol. 2|
|Love at First Bite|
|The Best of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In|
|I Do Not Choose to Run|