Johnson in 1986, during an interview aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington.
|Born||Donnie Wayne Johnson
December 15, 1949
Flat Creek, Missouri, United States
|Spouse(s)||A wife (1968; annulled)
A wife (annulled)
Melanie Griffith (1976, 1989-96)
Kelley Phleger (1999-present)
|Partner(s)||Patti D'Arbanville (1981-1985)|
|Children||Jesse Wayne Johnson (born 1982)
Dakota Johnson (born 1989)
Atherton Johnson (born 1999)
Jasper Johnson (born 2002)
Deacon Johnson (born 2006)
Donnie Wayne "Don" Johnson (born December 15, 1949) is an American actor and recording artist perhaps best known for his lead role as James "Sonny" Crockett in the 1980s television series, Miami Vice. He also played the lead role in the 1990s cop series, Nash Bridges. Johnson is a Golden Globe winning actor for his role in Miami Vice, a winner of the American Power Boat Association Offshore World Cup, and has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also a singer, songwriter, producer, and director.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Acting
- 3 Music
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Reception
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Discography
- 8 Videography
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Early life and education
Johnson was born in Flat Creek, Missouri. His mother, Nell (née Wilson), was a beautician, and his father, Wayne Fred Johnson, was a farmer. They were 19 and 17 at the time of his birth, respectively. At age six, he moved from Missouri to Wichita, Kansas. A 1967 graduate of South High School, he was involved in the high school's theatre program. As a senior, he played the lead role of Tony in West Side Story. His biography noted that he had previously appeared in "Burnt Cork and Melody" and "The Hullabaloo." He also attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.
Johnson has spoken about his draft-exempt status and his dislike for war.
Johnson studied drama at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. His first major role was in the 1969 Los Angeles stage production of Fortune and Men's Eyes, in which he played Smitty, the lead role. This exposure led to the quickly forgotten film The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970, based on a novel by Robert Westbrook, son of columnist Sheilah Graham). He continued to work on stage, film and television without breaking out into stardom. His notable films from this period were Zachariah (1971), The Harrad Experiment (1973), Lollipop and Roses (1974), and A Boy and His Dog (1975). In 1976, Johnson was roommates with actor Sal Mineo when Mineo was murdered outside their West Hollywood, CA apartment.
From 1984-1989—after years of struggling to establish himself as a TV actor (in such fare as Revenge of the Stepford Wives), and a string of pilots, none of which became a TV series—Johnson landed a starring role as undercover police detective Sonny Crockett in the cop series, Miami Vice. He typically wore thousand dollar Versace and Hugo Boss suits over pastel cotton t-shirts, drove a Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona (really a replica kit on a 1981 Corvette chassis), followed by a Ferrari Testarossa and lived on a 40-foot (12 m) (later a 42 ft) Endeavour yacht with his pet alligator, Elvis. Miami Vice was noted for its revolutionary use of music, cinematography, imagery, and its glitzy take on the police drama genre. Between seasons, Johnson gained further renown through several TV miniseries, such as the 1985 TV remake of The Long, Hot Summer.
Johnson later starred in the 1996-2001 drama Nash Bridges with Cheech Marin, Jeff Perry, Jaime P. Gomez and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe. Johnson played the title role of Nash Bridges, an inspector for the San Francisco Police Department. In Nash Bridges Johnson was again paired with a flashy convertible car, this time a Lemon Twist Yellow 1971 Plymouth Barracuda.
In the fall of 2005, he briefly starred in The WB courtroom television drama show Just Legal as a jaded lawyer with a very young and idealistic protégé/partner (Jay Baruchel); the show was canceled in October 2005 after just three episodes aired. In January 2007, Johnson began a run in the West End of London production of Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit.
Johnson also has a role in the Norwegian comedy Lange Flate Ballær 2 ("Long Flat Balls II"), directed by Johnson's friend Harald Zwart. Johnson did the movie as a favour to Zwart. The movie was launched March 14, 2008 in Norway, with Johnson making an appearance at the premiere. He next appeared in When in Rome with Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston and Kristen Bell.
In October 2010, he began appearing on the HBO series Eastbound & Down, playing Kenny Powers' long-lost father, going by the alias "Eduardo Sanchez". He also reprised his role as Sonny Crockett for a Nike commercial with LeBron James where the NBA player contemplates acting and appears alongside Johnson on Miami Vice.
Johnson released two albums of pop music in the 1980s, one in 1986 and the other in 1989. His single, "Heartbeat", reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It was the title track from his first album, and was a collaboration with Robert Tepper. Johnson is also a good friend of Willie Nelson and Robert Tepper, and was briefly a part of the "Thailand Pack", alongside Tommy Morrison, and British TV funny man Les Dennis. Previously, Johnson worked with Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, co-writing the songs "Blind Love" and "Can't Take It with You" with Dickie Betts, which appeared on their 1979 album, Enlightened Rogues. B.B. King and Jules Taub co-wrote the song "Blind Love", the Allman's covered it. There is no writer's credit to confirm he co-wrote "Can't Take It with You".
Relationships and family
Johnson has had four wives in five marriages, three of which were brief. His first two marriages, in the late 1960s, were annulled. The names of Johnson's first two wives have not been made public knowledge. In the early 1970s, Johnson lived with groupie Pamela Des Barres. At 22, he met Melanie Griffith, the 14-year-old daughter of his The Harrad Experiment co-star Tippi Hedren. When Griffith was 15, she and Johnson began living together in a rented house in Laurel Canyon. On her 18th birthday they became engaged, and were married in January 1976; they filed for divorce that July. In early 1989, they reunited and conceived a child, Dakota Johnson (born 1989), and were married again from that year until 1996.
Johnson lived with actress Patti D'Arbanville. from 1981 to 1988. The couple has a son, Jesse Wayne Johnson (born December 7, 1982). A 1989 description of the couple's life in the 1980s said,
...[O]n Jan. 17, 1981, ... D'Arbanville ... met Johnson at an L.A. restaurant. "I saw this gorgeous guy," she says, "and I ran after him. saying, 'Hey you.' It turned out to be Donny. I said, 'So, Donny, how many times have you been married?' He said, 'Three.' I said, 'Say hello to No. 4.'...." Johnson ditched his date, Tanya Tucker, and spent the night with Patti. "One month later," she says, "I was pregnant." The couple planned to marry that fall, but D'Arbanville changed her mind. "I didn't see the point," she says. "Besides, there were areas in which we didn't get along." Drinking was one of them. Shortly after becoming pregnant, Patti sobered up. "Donny didn't," she says "[and] we grew further apart." ... Johnson eventually stopped drinking with D'Arbanville's help.... Miami Vice took Johnson to Florida in 1984, and the couple split a year later....
On April 29, 1999, he married San Francisco socialite and Montessori nursery school teacher Kelley Phleger, then 30, at the Pacific Heights mansion of Ann and Gordon Getty. Actor Robert Wagner served as best man, and Mayor Willie Brown presided over the civil ceremony. Johnson and Phleger have three children together: a daughter, Atherton Grace Johnson (born December 28, 1999), and two sons, Jasper Breckinridge Johnson (born June 6, 2002), and Deacon Johnson (born April 29, 2006).
In November 2002, German customs officers at the Swiss-German border performed a routine search of Johnson's car. Bank statements evidencing US$8 billion in transactions were found in the trunk of his car. He was accompanied in his black Mercedes-Benz by three men: an investment adviser, a personal assistant, and a third of unknown identity. Initially it was thought Johnson was involved in money laundering, but he was cleared of wrongdoing.
In July 2010, a Los Angeles jury awarded Johnson $23.2 million in a lawsuit against production company Rysher Entertainment, from whom Johnson sought a share of profits commensurate with his ownership of half the copyright of Nash Bridges. Rysher announced it would appeal the verdict. In January 2013, after recalculating interest and avoiding an additional appeal, Rysher paid Johnson $19 million to end the lawsuit.
Awards and recognitions
|1975||Winner||Saturn Award||Best Actor||A Boy and His Dog|
|1985||Nominated||Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Miami Vice|
|1986||Winner||Golden Globe Awards||Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama|
|1987||Nominated||Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama|
|1988||Won||APBA Offshore World Cup||Superboat class||-|
|1996||Awarded||Hollywood Walk of Fame||Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame||-|
|1970||The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart||Stanley Sweetheart|
|1973||Harrad Experiment, TheThe Harrad Experiment||Stanley Cole|
|1973||Kung Fu||1973 episode - The Spirit Helper|
|1974||Lollipops and Roses||Franky|
|1975||Boy and His Dog, AA Boy and His Dog||Vic||Saturn Award for Best Actor|
|1975||Return to Macon County||Harley McKay|
|1976||The Streets of San Francisco||Larry Wilson||Season 5 Episode 9 Hot Dog|
|1976||Law of the Land|
|1977||The City||Sergeant Brian Scott||Television pilot|
|1977||The Cover Girls|
|1978||Swan Lake||Benno (English version) (voice)|
|1978||Ski Lift to Death||Mike Sloan|
|1978||Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold|
|1978||First, You Cry|
|1979||Tales of the Unexpected|
|1979||Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill||Television film|
|1979||Rebels, TheThe Rebels||Judson Fletcher||Miniseries|
|1980||From Here to Eternity||Canceled after 13 episodes|
|1980||Revenge of the Stepford Wives||Television film|
|1981||Elvis and the Beauty Queen||Elvis Presley||Television film|
|1981||Two Lives of Carol Letner, TheThe Two Lives of Carol Letner||Television film|
|1981||Soggy Bottom, U.S.A.||Jacob Gorch|
|1984–1989||Miami Vice||Det. James "Sonny" Crockett||111 Episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
|1985||Cease Fire||Tim Murphy|
|1985||Long Hot Summer, TheThe Long Hot Summer||Ben Quick||Television film|
|1987||G.I. Joe: The Movie||Lt. Falcon||direct-to-video|
|1988||Sweet Hearts Dance||Wiley Boon|
|1989||Dead Bang||Jerry Beck|
|1990||The Hot Spot||Harry Madox|
|1991||Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man||Marlboro|
|1993||Born Yesterday||Paul Verrall|
|1993||Guilty as Sin||David Edgar Greenhill|
|1995||In Pursuit of Honor||Sgt. John Libbey||HBO film|
|1996–2001||Nash Bridges||Nash Bridges||Executive producer
|1996||Tin Cup||David Simms|
|1998||Goodbye Lover||Ben Dunmore|
|2003||Word of Honor||Lt. Benjamin Tyson||Television film
|2005||Just Legal||Grant H. Cooper||Cancelled after 3 episodes the rest of the episodes were later aired
8 episodes (2005–06)
|2007||Moondance Alexander||Dante Longpre|
|2007||Bastardi||Sante Patene||Italian film|
|2008||Lange Flate Ballær 2||Admiral Burnett||Norwegian film|
|2008||Torno a vivere da solo||Nico||Italian film|
|2010||When in Rome||-|
|2010||Machete||Lt. Von Jackson|
|2010-2012||Eastbound & Down||Eduardo Sanchez Powers|
|2011||Good Old Fashioned Orgy, AA Good Old Fashioned Orgy||Dad|
|2011||Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star||Miles Deep|
|2012||Django Unchained||Spencer "Big Daddy" Bennett|
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions|
|Let It Roll||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|1987||"Voice on a Hotline"||—||—||—||—||—||59||—||—||—||—|
|1989||"Tell It Like It Is"||—||13||—||6||2||6||—||—||6||84||Let It Roll|
|"Other People's Lives"||—||—||—||46||57||53||—||—||—||—|
|"A Better Place" (with Yuri)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|Year||Single||Artist||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1988||"Till I Loved You"||Barbra Streisand||25||34||22||26||4||16||Till I Loved You|
- 1987: Heartbeat - Full Length Video (VHS) - (Release date: May 10, 1987)
- "Don Johnson Biography". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
- "Don Johnson Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". Biography.com. 1949-12-15. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- Schindehette, Susan (1989-02-27). "A Baby for Don and Melanie". People. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- "Don Johnson at Hollywood.com". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- Twardy, Chuck (1986-02-23). "Don Johnson at KU". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- "Stanley Sweetheart Seeks in Monstrous Society". Tri-City Herald. Associated Press. June 19, 1970. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- "Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With a Trailer for Machete". Dreadcentral.com. 2010-09-03. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- [dead link]
- "The coolest voice in LeBron James' head belongs to -- Don Johnson?". Los Angeles Times. 2010-10-26. pp. Ministry of Gossip. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
- John Anderson. "A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy". Variety.com. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
- Sandy Schaefer (October 2011). "Don Johnson Joins Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'". screenrant.com. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- Zoglin, Richard (1985-09-16). "Cool Cops, Hot Show". Time Magazine (Time Inc.). Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- Des Barres, Pamela. I'm With The Band (2005) pp. 230-246
- "A Baby for Don and Melanie". People. February 27, 1989.
- Zoglin, Richard (1985-09-16). "Cool Cops, Hot Show". Time Magazine (Time Inc.). Retrieved 2009-02-25.
- Dougherty, Margot; Sheff, Vicki (April 3, 1989). "Meet the New Patti D'Arbanville, Star of Wiseguy and Wired, No Longer Just Don Johnson's Ex". People 31 (13). Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Green, Michelle (December 3, 1984). "Miami Vice and a Good Woman Save Bad Boy Don Johnson". People. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Sutton, Larry. "Four Better or Worse". People 51 (18). Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Craig, David Cobb (January 1, 2000). "Passages - Births". People. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Abel, Olivia (June 24, 2002). "Passages > Births". People. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Wren, Jennifer (May 15, 2006). "Passages > Births". People. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Rozen, Leah; Mascia, Kristen; Ellenson, Ruth Andrew; Lynch, Jason (August 7, 2006). "Picks and Pans Review: Where Are They Now?". People. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Cironneau, Lionel (2003-03-12). "Germany inspects papers linked to Johnson". USA Today (Germany). Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- Welkos, Robert W. (2003-03-13). "For Actor Don Johnson, $8 Billion Worth of Bad Publicity in Germany". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
- "on Johnson Denies Laundering Money". CNN. Associated Press. 2003-03-16. Archived from the original on 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Don Johnson's off the hook". Los Angeles Times. 2003-05-07. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
- "The Famous, Foreclosed: Celebrity Foreclosures Photo Gallery". TruTV. 2006-04-27. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- Kim, Victoria (July 8, 2010). "Actor Don Johnson is awarded $23.2 million in 'Nash Bridges' lawsuit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- "Actor Don Johnson is awarded $23.2 million in 'Nash Bridges' lawsuit". Los Angeles Times.
- Gardner, Eriq (February 11, 2013). "Don Johnson Gets $19 Million to End 'Nash Bridges' Dispute". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- "Awards Database: Don Johnson". The Envelope: The Awards Insider (LA Times). Retrieved 2008-01-09.
- "Advanced Primetime Awards Search". Academy of Television Arts and Science. www.emmys.tv. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- "Miami Vice". Hollywood Foreign Press Association/Golden Globes. www.hfpa.org. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- Friedman, Jack; Cindy Dampier (1990-05-28). "With Kurt Russell and Chuck Norris in Tow, Don Johnson Risks His Neck on a New Miami Vice—superboat Racing". People 33 (21): 101–102.
- "Don Johnson's road leads to "Rome"". Reuters. 2008-08-10. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
- "Don Johnson Album & Song Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- "austriancharts.at - Don Johnson". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 170. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
- "InfoDisc - Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artste - Sélection de l'Artiste - Choisissez une Lettre: J > Don Johnson". InfoDisc. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- "German Charts (Albums) > Don Johnson" (in German). charts.de Media Control Charts. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "dutchcharts.nl - Dutch charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- "norwegiancharts.com - Norwegian charts portal > Don Johnson". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- "swedishcharts.com - Swedish charts portal > Don Johnson". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- "Don Johnson Album & Song Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- "lescharts.com - French charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- "German Charts (Singles) > Don Johnson" (in German). charts.de Media Control Charts. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- "Chart Stats - Don Johnson". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- "Barbra Streisand Album & Song Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- "australian-charts.com - Australian charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- "Chart Stats - Barbra Streisand and Don Johnson". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- Hershkovits, David. Don Johnson, in series, 2M Communications Production[s]. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986. ISBN 0-312-90165-8
- Latham, Caroline. Miami Magic: Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, the Inside Story of the Stars of 'Miami Vice' [and of their other television and film work]. New York: Zebra Books, 1985. N.B.: The subtitle given, lacking on the t.p., is from the pbk. book's front cover. ISBN 0-8217-1800-2
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