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All Music Guide:
Saxophonist who went through swing, bop and R&B in the 50s. With a soulful, refined voice, Johnson also was an excellent teacher.
Candy Johnson (February 8, 1944 – October 21, 2012) was an American singer and dancer who appeared in several films in the 1960s.
She was born Born Victoria Jean Hulstead in Los Angeles, California, and graduated from San Gabriel High School. Her most notable films are the American International Pictures Beach Party films, in which she played Candy a girl who could dance so hard it would literally knock the guys off their feet. In the first film in the series, Beach Party, she is credited as the "perpetual motion dancer. She remained a part of the series for the next three films, with her last appearance in it being in 1964 in Pajama Party, where she had a small cameo role.
She also recorded under the name "Candy Johnson and her Exciters." The Exciters were a band were her agent Red Gilson managed and partnered her with. The recordings of Candy and the Exciters were released by Canjo records, a private label started by Johnson and Gilson in 1964 to capitalize on her club and film appearances. Canjo was in business for only one year and released two albums and seven singles.
She also appeared at the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing, Queens, New York. After seeing her show, the New York rock group The Strangeloves were inspired to write their hit single "I Want Candy," which reached #11 on the Billboard charts. The song would be rerecorded by a number of artists over the following decades including The Tremoles, Bow Wow Wow and Aaron Carter.
Johnson retired from performing in 1968 and subsequently led a private existence, eventually settling in Corona, California. At the request of friends, she did attend a special showing of "Beach Party" at a Los Angeles theatre in 2006. Candy did not plan on making a public appearance during the showing. However, after seeing the audience reaction to the film Candy allowed her friends to let the house manager know that she was in the audience. When the film ended, the organizer of the event announced to the crowd that Candy was in attendance and she rose to wave and take a bow. Johnson received a standing ovation.
After being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011 and undergoing unsuccessful treatment at a number of facilities, she returned to a hospice in Corona where she died of the disease at age 68 on October 21, 2012.