Coronation Street and Emmerdale stars have paid tribute to David Johnson, who has been credited with launching their careers, after his sudden death.
Actors including Corrie’s Antony Cotton (Sean Tully) and Samia Longchambon (Maria Connor,) took to social media on Wednesday to pay their respects to ‘star-maker’ David, who founded Oldham Theatre Workshop in 1968 and who went on to launch the careers of many soap stars.
David, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2019, tragically died on May 4 but the cause of his death has not yet been revealed.
Sadness: Coronation Street and Emmerdale stars, including Samia Longchambon, have paid tribute to David Johnson has been credited with kickstarting their careers, after his death
Tragic: David, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2019, died on May 4 but the cause of his death has not yet been revealed (stock image)
Since the news of his passing, Coronation Street and Emmerdale stars praised him for his ‘influence’ and for helping them to kickstart their careers with his drama classes.
Antony Cotton tweeted: ‘Just heard the saddest news. David Johnson who was the director of the phenomena that was Oldham Theatre Workshop, has died.
‘He put so many of us on the map, and kick started so many careers, both on stage and off. So many of us owe him so much. I’m absolutely gutted.’
He continued: ‘He formed my childhood so profoundly, and in turn – my adult life too.
Devastated: Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully in Coronation Street, said he was ‘absolutely gutted’ to hear of David’s death as he admitted that he owes him ‘so much’
‘Those years were the best years of my life. Rest in Power David. You were the best x’
He also shared a heartfelt statement on behalf of his co-star Alison King, who plays Carla Connor in the ITV soap opera, as she doesn’t have social media.
It read: ‘David Johnson. R.I.P… my absolute hero! My maker of all things that I am, and where I am today, my teacher, of who I was 27 years ago, years that taught me things about myself I never knew, but have carried with me to this date.
‘You were strict and yet the kindest man to me I have ever known. You were intuitive, and insightful, and gave me and so many others I’ve loved and adored working with over the years, the opportunity to shine.’
She added: ‘You were the sharpest, most aware human being of others creatively, and how to teach them to show it, I have ever known. Thank you so much.’
Tributes: Since the news of his passing, Coronation Street and Emmerdale stars praised him for his ‘influence’ and for helping them to kickstart their careers with his drama classes
Samia Longchambon, who has starred as Maria Connor in Coronation Street since 2000, said: ‘Such sad news. The end of an era. He really was the best xxx’
Emmerdale’s Kelvin Fletcher also shared his sadness, penning: ‘Singlehandedly the biggest influence on my career and arguably, the reason behind my career.
‘I know I speak for so many. Thank you David Johnson. What a legacy.’
Lisa Riley, who played Mandy Dingle in Emmerdale, said: ‘REST IN PEACE for all of us whom were taught by David Johnson, today is a very sad day.
‘I know I speak for many of my fellow actors in the industry, we wouldn’t be where we are today without this LEGEND of a man.
‘I owe so much to you David….. you know how much I loved you.’
Gentleman Jack star Suranne Jones posted a ‘rest in peace’ message to her Instagram stories as she shared a snap of David and ‘thanked’ him.
David’s Oldham Theatre Workshop held drama classes which helped to develop the careers of an array of stars, including Anna Friel, Suranne Jones and Anne Kirkbride.
Oldham Theatre Workshop said in a statement shared across its social media platforms: ‘Yesterday we learned of the passing of Oldham Theatre Workshop’s founder and original Artistic Director, David Johnson.
‘Since it first opened in 1968, many thousands of young people have come through its doors and found friendship, purpose and inspiration.
‘Today we pause to reflect on the significant and ongoing impact David’s work has had.’
MailOnline has contacted Coronation Street for comment.
Stars: David’s Oldham Theatre Workshop held drama classes which helped to develop the careers of an array of stars, including Anna Friel and Suranne Jones (pictured in May 2019)