Reginald VelJohnson (Actor) - Family Matters
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Updated: 11/07/22

Name: Reginald VelJohnson

Birth Name: Reginald Vel Johnson

Born: August 16, 1952 in Queens, New York, USA

Nickname: Reggie

Claim To Fame: Reginald VelJohnson is an American actor best known for playing police officer characters Carl Winslow on the sitcom Family Matters, which ran from 1989 to 1998, and LAPD Sergeant Al Powell in the films Die Hard and Die Hard 2.

Family Life: N/A

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Info: The son of Eva, a nurse's aid, and Dan, a hospital attendant.

Has one brother, Barry.

His father left the family when Johnson was 13 years old. His mother subsequently married John Reilly.

Attended Benjamin N. Cardozo High School where he was classmates with George Tenet.

Received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from New York University.

Worked with Joseph Papp's Black/Hispanic Shakespeare Company, in which Morgan Freeman and CCH Pounder were among his fellow actors.

In 2017, VelJohnson was the subject of an internet hoax when it was reported that the actor had died as a result of a heart attack. He took to Twitter to demonstrate the report to be indeed false.

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Trivia: Early in his acting career, he changed his name from Reginald Vel Johnson (his birth name) to Reginald VelJohnson.

VelJohnson is known for playing police officers in films and on television; Family Matters (1989), Ghostbusters (1984), Die Hard (1988), Die Hard 2 (1990) and Turner & Hooch (1989).

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.

He would also play an ambulance driver in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) in which he was credited by the stage name Ivory Ocean. Not sure if the stage name thing is 100% accurate, but it sounds really cool. I'll look into it.

His breakthrough role was as Sgt. Al Powell in the 1988 action film Die Hard. The rumor is VelJohnson was hired after star Gene Hackman, originally hired to play the role, became unavailable, and producers decided to hire a relatively unknown actor for the part.

In 1989, VelJohnson was cast as the memorable police officer and family patriarch Carl Winslow in the ABC (later CBS) sitcom Family Matters, a spinoff of the popular show Perfect Strangers, which featured Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow.

In 2005, he playing opposite Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance in the Guthrie Theater's stage version of "His Girl Friday".

In 2021, VelJohnson voiced Principal Winslow in the animated adaptation of the comic Invincible. The character itself is named after his previous role of Carl Winslow from Family Matters.

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Where Are They Now: VelJohnson's career shows no signs of slowing down. He's currently filming the Sci-Fi film Roswell Delirium which is due out in 2023.


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