Reginald Vel Johnson
August 16, 1952
New York, New York, U.S.
|Education||New York University (BFA)|
|Known for||Carl Winslow — Family Matters |
Al Powell — Die Hard
Reginald VelJohnson (born Reginald Vel Johnson; August 16, 1952) is an American actor. He is best known for playing policeman characters such as Carl Winslow on the sitcom Family Matters, which ran from 1989 to 1998, and LAPD Sgt. Al Powell in the films Die Hard and Die Hard 2.
VelJohnson was born Reginald Vel Johnson on August 16, 1952, in Queens, New York, the son of Eve, a nurse, and Reginald Johnson Sr., a hospital attendant. His father left the family, which included Reginald's brother Barry, when Johnson was 13 years old. Their mother subsequently married John Reilly. Johnson attended Benjamin N. Cardozo High School where he was classmates with George Tenet. He later obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from New York University, where he had a chance to work with Joseph Papp's Black/Hispanic Shakespeare Company, in which Morgan Freeman and CCH Pounder were among his fellow actors. Early in his acting career, he changed his name from Reginald Vel Johnson (his birth name) to Reginald VelJohnson. He later said he changed the spelling, "because I wanted a name people would remember."
VelJohnson is known for playing police officers in films and on television. His early career included a brief appearance in Ghostbusters (1984) as a Municipal Corrections Officer and an appearance in Crocodile Dundee (1986) as a limo driver. VelJohnson played a police officer alongside Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch (1989).
VelJohnson had his breakthrough role as Sgt. Al Powell in the 1988 film Die Hard. He came from New York to California to film it for nine months, which was so long that he just ended up residing in California permanently thereafter. He also later reprised the character in the 1990 sequel Die Hard 2. VelJohnson again portrayed Sgt. Powell in the GameCube video game title, Die Hard: Vendetta, in 2002.
In 1989, VelJohnson was cast as the memorable police officer and family patriarch Carl Winslow in the ABC (later CBS) sitcom Family Matters, alongside Jo Marie Payton, who played his wife Harriette Winslow. He starred on the show until it ended in 1998.
Since the end of Family Matters, VelJohnson has done mostly theater work. In 2004, he took the title role in the off-Broadway show She all Dat! (playing "she"). He also wrote a critically acclaimed series of short stories called Division Street. One of them, called Sunday Evening Haircut, was made into a short film in 2005, which starred VelJohnson himself, alongside Kiki Shepard. VelJohnson has also made guest appearances in several TV shows, including The Equalizer, Diagnosis: Murder, Twice in a Lifetime, Will & Grace, Monk, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Eve, Crossing Jordan, The Parkers, That's So Raven, and Bones. He also had a minor role in the 2002 film Like Mike.
In 2007, he appeared in the short films Reverse, Nerve Endings, and Time Upon A Once which were made during the reality show On the Lot. The following year he appeared as the "Sgt. Al Powell" character from the Die Hard series in an episode of NBC's Chuck titled "Chuck Versus the Santa Claus", as the cousin of Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence). In 2010, VelJohnson started a recurring role as the principal on the Disney sitcom I'm in the Band and also Funnyordie.com's short HBO film titled Just 3 Boyz starring Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, and Zack Galifianakis. He has also appeared in the comedy film, The Formula, starring alongside Brandon Baker and Sasha Jackson.
VelJohnson was the subject of an internet hoax when, on February 13, 2017, a website reported that the actor had died as a result of a heart attack. The fact checking website Snopes.com proved the claim to be false and VelJohnson took to Twitter to show he is alive and doing well.
|1981||Wolfen||Morgue Attendant||Credited as Reginald Vel Johnson|
|1984||Ghostbusters||Corrections Officer||Credited as Reggie Vel Johnson|
|1985||Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins||Ambulance Driver|
|1988||Plain Clothes||Captain Graff|
|1988||Die Hard||Sgt. Al Powell|
|1989||Turner & Hooch||Detective David "Dave" Sutton|
|1990||Die Hard 2||Sgt. Al Powell|
|1991||A Fond Little Memory||Short film|
|2000||Ground Zero||Burt Green|
|2002||Like Mike||Mr. Boyd|
|2005||Sunday Evening Haircut||O.C.||Short film|
|2005||Suits on the Loose||Brother Steedman|
|2005||Death to the Supermodels||Tom||Direct-to-video release|
|2006||Hidden Secrets||Norman Wexler|
|2007||Three Days to Vegas||Johnny|
|Out at the Wedding||Dexter|
|2009||Steppin: The Movie||Mr. Shavers|
|2010||Jelly (film)||Joe Woods|
|2010||You Again||Mason Dunlevy|
|2012||Brother White||Hill|
|2012||Air Collision||Bob Abbot|
|2013||The Formula||Professor Millan|
|2014||12 Dog Days Till Christmas'||Probation Officer Art Stephenson|
|2015||The Flight Before Christmas||Joe||Made for TV Movie|
|2018||The Prayer Box||Billy||Made for TV movie|
|2019||Avengers: Endgame||Fire Chief||Deleted Scene|
|2020||The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee||Reggie||completed|
|1985–1988||The Equalizer||N/A (1985)
Harmon Hunter (1986)
Arthur Williams (1988)
|Episode: "Lady Cop"|
Episode: "Dead Drop"
Episode: "Sea of Fire"
|1988||227||The Santa Thief||Episode: "The Night They Arrested Santa Claus"|
|1989||Perfect Strangers||Carl Winslow||Episode: "Crimebusters"|
|1989–1998||Family Matters||Carl Winslow||Main role, 215 episodes|
|1992||Tales from the Crypt||Hotel Guest||Episode: "Werewolf Concerto"|
|1993||Dream On||Santa||Episode: "Silent Night, Holy Cow:|
|1994||A Cool Like That Christmas||Dad (Voice)||Television movie|
|1994||One of Her Own||Det. Bob Hymes||Television movie|
|1996||Deadly Pursuits||Ed Conroy||Television movie|
|1998||Diagnosis: Murder||Dr. David Sinclair||Episode: "The Last Resort"|
|1999||The Hughleys||Rev. Bennett||Episode: "Daddy's Going to Hell"|
|2000||Twice in a Lifetime||Dr. David Bryant||Episode: "Whistle Blower"|
|2001||The Fugitive||Maurice Beaumont||Episode: "Lagniappe"|
|2002||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Dr. Phillip Kane||Episodes: "Face Lift" and "Gentle, Gentle"|
|2002||Crossing Jordan||Mr. Holden||Episode: "Someone to Count On"|
|2002||Will & Grace||Dr. Kaplan||Episode: "It's the Gay Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"|
|2003||The Parkers||Sterling Oglevee||Episode: "A Sterling Relationship"|
|2005||That’s So Raven||Dikembe, The Ambassador||Episode: "The Royal Treatment"|
|2005||Ghost Whisperer||Danny Small||Episode: "Undead Comic"|
|2006||Eve||Rev. Everett||Episode: "Oh, Brother"|
|2006||Monk||Todd||Episode: "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion"|
|2007||On the Lot||Neighbor in 'Time Upon a Once'||Episode: "11 Cut to 10 & 10 Directors Complete"|
|2007||Bones||Dale Owens||Episode: "The Santa in the Slush"|
|2008||Chuck||Sgt. Al Powell||Episode: "Chuck Versus Santa Claus"|
|2009||The Three Gifts||Rodney Smith||Television movie|
|2009–2011||I'm in the Band||Principal/Superintendent Cornelius Strickland||Recurring role|
|2010||Funny or Die Presents||Christopher||Episode: "Just 3 Boyz"|
|2010||The Bold and the Beautiful||Ed||2 episodes|
|2010||Meet the Browns||Ernie Wilson||Episode: "Meet the Baby Daddy"|
|2011–2015||Hart of Dixie||Dash DeWitt||Recurring role|
|2011–2013||Mike & Molly||Brother Heywood||5 episodes|
|2012–2013||Tron: Uprising||Able||Recurring role|
|2012||General Hospital||Reverend Love|
|2012||The Mistle-Tones||Holly's dad||Television movie|
|2013||Real Husbands of Hollywood (Season 2)||Himself||Tisha and Duane|
|2014||Strike One||Judge Morris|
|2015||Clipped||Tommy (Buzzy's Husband)|
|2015||The Flight Before Christmas||Joe||Played husband of "Marie" (Jo Marie Payton, who also played Reginald's wife on Family Matters)|
|2016||It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia||Judge Melvoy||Episode: "McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century"|
|2016||Girl Meets World||Officer James||Episode: "Girl Meets True Maya"|
|2016||Ray Donovan||Sherman Radley||Episode: "Norman Saves the World"|
|2017||Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero||Mr. Flannigan (voice)||Episode: "My Mischievous Son"|
|2018||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Himself||Episode: "Bachelor/ette Party"|
|2018–2019||3Below: Tales of Arcadia||Jerry (voice)||7 episodes|
|2019–present||Lazor Wulf||God (voice)||Recurring role|
|2019||Mom||Jim||Episode: "Audrey Hepburn and a Jalepeño Pepper"|
|2002||Die Hard: Vendetta||Sgt. Al Powell||Voice and likeness only|
- "Reginald VelJohnson Biography (1952–)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
- "Reginald Veljohnson [sic]". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on September 18, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
- "Reginald Veljohnson Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
- "Queens Tribune Online, QConfidential". Queenstribune.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
- Hill, Michael E. (November 25, 1990). "Reginal VelJohnson". Washington Post. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- Buck, Jerry (November 16, 1989). "Reginald Veljohnson of `Family Matters' reminisces". The Dallas Morning News.
- Thompson, Simon (November 2, 2018). "Reginald VelJohnson Talks 'Die Hard' At 30 And 'Crocodile Dundee' Sequel". Forbes. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- Dawn, Randee (November 7, 2018). "Reginald VelJohnson reveals how 'Die Hard' helped him get cast in 'Family Matters'". Today. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- "On this day in comedy... In 1952 comedian and actor Reginal VelJohnson was born!". Humor Mill Mag. September 16, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- ""Chuck" Chuck Versus Santa Claus (TV Episode 2008)" – via www.imdb.com.
- Smith, William. "Mixing 'The Formula' For Success". The Hawk Eye. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
- "Reginald VelJohnson". Hallmark Drama. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- "FACT CHECK: Reginald VelJohnson Death Hoax". Snopes.com. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- "Reginald VelJohnson on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- T&D Staff Report (April 5, 2015). "'12 Dog Days Till Christmas': Claflin event includes screening of S.C.-made film". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved December 17, 2017.