Sammy Johnson: a local legend
WHILE his fans knew him as Sammy, to his pals in the industry and on the Springwell Estate in Gateshead where he grew up, he would always be known by his real name, Ronnie.
A keen musician, he learned to play the guitar at an early age and one of his first bands was ‘Pigmeat’ with Jim Murray and Ray Stubbs. However, a job playing bass guitar at a Live Theatre panto in Newcastle led to a part in the show – and the beginning of his acting career.
Sammy's big break was when he was cast as ‘Stick’ in ‘Spender,’ a TV detective series written by Jimmy Nail and Ian La Frenais. It was this role more than any other that endeared Sammy to the public. Following his success in 'Spender' Sammy began to turn his hand to scriptwriting and moved house to live near Malaga in Spain. It was while jogging in the hills there in 1998 that he collapsed and died. He was 49 years old.