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Actor Fred Thomson demonstrating how to use a Johnson & Johnson first aid kit to Boy Scouts alt
Our Heritage Ask Margaret

Lights, Camera, Action! Fun Stories of When Hollywood Played a Starring Role in Johnson & Johnson's History

In time for awards show season, we roll out our own red carpet to reveal which old-school stars and starlets of the silver screen had connections to the company.
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Q:

For a healthcare corporation, Johnson & Johnson has actually had quite a few brushes with old Hollywood glamour. What have been some of its top moments in the limelight?

A:

Margaret Gurowitz Margaret Gurowitz Margaret Gurowitz, Chief Historian, Johnson & Johnson, Chief Historian: One of the earliest was in 1926, when silent film star Fred Thomson appeared in a photo shoot showing Boy Scouts how to use a Johnson & Johnson first aid kit.

At the time, Boy Scouts across America were already using the company's kits in their training, but getting to see the "World's Greatest Western Star," as Thomson was known at the time, demonstrate first aid techniques was an amazing opportunity—particularly when Thomson's horse, Silver King, helped out.

In 1942, a top Hollywood star, Hedy Lamarr, actually visited Johnson & Johnson. The actress was also a brilliant mathematician, and with a colleague, she invented a frequency-hopping technology during World War II that kept radio signals from being blocked. (This technology formed the basis of the modern wireless communication we use today.)

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In 1942, a top Hollywood star, Hedy Lamarr, actually visited Johnson & Johnson.

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Lamarr contributed to the war effort in another significant way: The U.S. government asked her to host rallies for war bonds, which were sold to help finance military efforts—including a rally for workers outside Johnson & Johnson's company headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Two years later, the Johnson & Johnson Glee Club, composed of company employees, also had a brush with fame. The group appeared in a local program with glee clubs and choruses from other corporations, and sharing the stage with everyone at the Mosque Theater in Newark, New Jersey, that day was well-known actor Ralph Bellamy, who'd been in rom-coms like The Awful Truth, alongside Cary Grant.

Tickets to the show were purchased through buying war bonds—an approach that's similar to how the Johnson & Johnson-supported Global Citizen Festival works. Fans who want to see stars perform at the annual event in New York City's Central Park must take action on various social causes for a chance to win tickets to the big event.

Johnson & Johnson has a virtual museum where you can learn more fun facts about its rich history.
© Albert Vecerka/Esto. All rights reserved.

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