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Ashley Johnson

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Ashley Johnson
A blonde woman in her early thirties smiles at something off-camera
Johnson in April 2014
Ashley Suzanne Johnson

(1983-08-09) August 9, 1983 (age 40)
Years active1990–present
PartnerBrian W. Foster (2012–2023)
RelativesJonny Lang (brother-in-law)

Ashley Suzanne Johnson (born August 9, 1983) is an American actress. She became known as a child actress for her role as Chrissy Seaver on the sitcom Growing Pains (1990–1992). As an adult, her television roles include Amber Ahmed on The Killing (2011–2012) and Patterson on Blindspot (2015–2020). She has appeared in films such as What Women Want (2000), The Help (2011), and Much Ado About Nothing (2012), and is a cast member on the Dungeons & Dragons web series Critical Role (2015–present). She became the president of the show's charity branch, the Critical Role Foundation, upon its launch in 2020.

As a voice actress, Johnson is known for providing the voice and motion capture of Ellie in The Last of Us (2013), The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014), and The Last of Us Part II (2020). She also voiced animated television characters Gretchen Grundler on Recess (1997–2001), Terra on Teen Titans (2004–2006) and Teen Titans Go! (2013–present), Jinmay on Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! (2004–2006), Gwen Tennyson in the Ben 10 franchise (2008–2014), Renet Tilley on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Shiseru on Naruto: Shippuden (2015), and Tulip Olsen and Lake on Infinity Train (2019–2020), as well as the video game characters Gortys in Tales from the Borderlands (2014) and Petra in Minecraft: Story Mode (2015–2016) and its sequel (2017).

Johnson has won two BAFTA Games Awards for Performer, winning once each for her performances in The Last of Us and The Last of Us: Left Behind and becoming the only person to have won the award more than once. She also received multiple nominations for her performance in The Last of Us Part II.

Early life[edit]

Ashley Suzanne Johnson was born in Camarillo, California, on August 9, 1983,[1][2] the daughter of former test pilot Nancy (née Spruiell)[3] and exploration ship captain Cliff Johnson.[4] She is of Norwegian descent.[5] She has an older brother named Chris and an older sister named Haylie, both of whom have also worked as actors. Her sister later married singer and musician Jonny Lang.[6] Her father was often away for months at a time and would bring back souvenirs from countries such as Japan.[4] He started a new job nine days after Johnson was born and subsequently moved the family to Franklin, Michigan, where they lived for a few years before returning to California and settling in Los Angeles.[4] Johnson attended school in nearby Burbank when her acting career allowed, but otherwise had an on-set teacher.[7] She later studied violin and piano at the International School of Music in Glendale.[4] When she was 16, her father died of complications from hepatitis C and cancer of the liver and lungs.[8][9] Johnson needed a back brace for three years due to scoliosis and kyphosis, which affected her high school years.[10]


Johnson's career began at age six, when she played the role of Chrissy Seaver on the sitcom Growing Pains from 1990 to 1992. The character's age was accelerated from a toddler between seasons for plotting purposes. By the time she was 12, Johnson had been in the casts of eight television series. She later reprised her role as Chrissy in The Growing Pains Movie and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers. In the one season series Phenom (1993–94), she played the mischievous younger sister of a rising teenage tennis star. She appeared in the 1994 sitcom All-American Girl, which also lasted for only one season. She played DJ's overbearing girlfriend Lisa in the Roseanne episode "The Blaming of the Shrew". During the 1995–96 ABC lineup, she played Gracie Wallace in the sitcom Maybe This Time. She played Alex Marshall in the 2000 comedy What Women Want. In 2008, she became a regular on the drama Dirt as Sharlee Cates. In 2009, Johnson appeared in "Omega", the first-season finale of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse.

In 2012, she appeared in The Avengers (also directed by Whedon) as Beth, the waitress who is saved by Captain America. She was intended to appear in future films as his newest love interest (as implied in a brief scene in the film), but that plan was shelved and instead actress Emily VanCamp's Sharon Carter character became involved with Rogers.[citation needed] Although her role was minor, the Blu-ray edition of The Avengers contains some deleted scenes that expand her role in the film and further her interactions with Rogers.[2][11] From 2015 to 2020, Johnson played FBI forensic specialist Patterson in the NBC drama series Blindspot.[12]

As a voice actress, Johnson's earlier roles included Sean in the English dub of The First Snow of Winter, Gretchen Grundler on Disney's Recess, Terra in the second and fifth seasons of Teen Titans, Jinmay on Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! and Gwen Tennyson in the Ben 10 franchise. A major voice role came when she provided the voice and motion capture for Ellie in the PlayStation action-adventure game The Last of Us, which was released to critical acclaim and commercial success.[13] She won a video game BAFTA for Best Performer, a VGX Award for Best Voice Actress, and a D.I.C.E. Award for Outstanding Character Performance[14] for her role in the game. On March 12, 2015, she won another BAFTA for Best Performer for the same role in the game's downloadable content, The Last of Us: Left Behind.[15] In 2015, she voiced Petra the Warrior in Minecraft: Story Mode by Telltale Games and Mojang. In 2016, she voiced Tulip Olsen in the pilot for Infinity Train and reprised the role for the series in 2019, additionally voicing Lake and the Steward.

Johnson (right) on the final day of motion capture production of The Last of Us Part II with Neil Druckmann (center) and Troy Baker (left)

In 2020, Johnson reprised the role of Ellie in The Last of Us Part II. For her performance, she was nominated for Best Performance at The Game Awards 2020,[16] for Outstanding Achievement in Character at the 24th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards,[17] and for Best Performer in a Leading Role at the 17th British Academy Games Awards.[18] She portrayed Ellie's mother, Anna, in the live-action adaptation of The Last of Us.[19] On her performance in the adaptation, The Daily Beast commented that "with less than 10 minutes of screen time, Johnson gives us one of the best scenes of The Last of Us".[20]

Johnson appeared in several Geek & Sundry shows, including playing occult specialist Morgan on the web series Spooked, as well as the Alhambra and Dead of Winter episodes on the board gaming web series TableTop.[21][22] In 2015, she began playing Pike Trickfoot on the Dungeons & Dragons actual play show Critical Role; in 2018, she began playing Yasha Nydoorin in the show's second campaign.[23] Critical Role was both the Webby Winner and the People's Voice Winner in the "Games (Video Series & Channels)" category at the 2019 Webby Awards;[24] the show was also both a finalist and the Audience Honor Winner at the 2019 Shorty Awards.[25] After becoming hugely successful, the Critical Role cast left the Geek & Sundry network in early 2019 and set up their own production company, Critical Role Productions.[26][27][28][29] Soon after, they aimed to raise $750,000 on Kickstarter to create an animated series of their first campaign, but ended up raising over $11 million.[30] In November 2019, Amazon Prime Video announced that they had acquired the streaming rights to this animated series, now titled The Legend of Vox Machina;[31] Johnson reprised her role as Pike Trickfoot.[32] In late 2020, she was made president of the Critical Role Foundation, the studio's charity branch.[33][34] In June 2021, she was added to the cast of Exandria Unlimited, an anthology spinoff of Critical Role.[35][36][37] Three months later, she served as gamemaster for The Nautilus Ark, her own one-shot episode on the Critical Role channel.[38] In October 2021, Johnson's Exandria Unlimited character Fearne returned in Critical Role's third campaign.[39]

Johnson set up a photography company called Infinity Pictures with Mila Shah, her childhood best friend who works as a production assistant and occasional actress; there have been no updates on the company for many years, though it is still registered as being active as of 2022.[40] Johnson and Shah also co-hosted a podcast called Wildly Hot & Bothered, which ran for 13 episodes from 2012 to 2014.[41] In 2015, they created and starred in Little Things, a web miniseries on YouTube about two friends living in Los Angeles and their habit of making awkward everyday situations even worse. The series was not released on YouTube until 2018.[42]

Personal life[edit]

The first campaign of Critical Role began two years prior to the start of the series as a one-off, simplified Dungeons & Dragons game for Liam O'Brien's birthday.[43][44] The players enjoyed the game so much that they continued to play it and brought in additional friends, including Johnson, who joined in the second game.[44][45] After Felicia Day heard about the private home game from Johnson, she approached the group about playing it in a live-streamed format for Geek & Sundry.[46][47]

Johnson enjoys singing and can play the guitar, piano, violin, and cello; she occasionally posted covers of songs on her SoundCloud page until late 2012.[48] Her performance as Ellie in The Last of Us Part II included acoustic guitar covers of "Future Days" by Pearl Jam, "Take On Me" by A-ha, "True Faith" by New Order, and "Through the Valley" by Shawn James.[49] She also joined co-star Troy Baker (in character as Ellie and Joel) to perform a cover of Johnny Cash's rendition of "Wayfaring Stranger", which plays over the end credits of the game.[50] She later provided vocals for the Critical Role theme songs "Your Turn to Roll"[51] and "It's Thursday Night".[52]

In 2012, Johnson began dating writer and musician Brian W. Foster, who also went on to host the Critical Role after-show Talks Machina.[53][54] Johnson was first introduced to Foster by Troy Baker when working on The Last of Us; Foster and Baker were then room-mates.[55] The couple announced their engagement in December 2018.[56][57] In May 2023, it was reported that Johnson had separated from Foster and filed a restraining order against him, citing abuse and threats.[58][59] All videos and mentions of Foster were subsequently wiped from the online profiles of Critical Role.[60] In October 2023, Johnson and six other women (including her sister and two Critical Role employees) filed a lawsuit against Foster that alleged assault, domestic violence, gender violence, sexual battery, stalking, civil rights violations, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.[61][62][63]



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Lionheart Nicole Gaultier
1995 Nine Months Shannon Dwyer
1998 Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 Josie Hemphill
The First Snow of Winter Sean McDuck Voice, short film; English dub
1999 Anywhere but Here Sarah
2000 What Women Want Alex Marshall
2001 Recess: School's Out Gretchen Grundler Voice[64]
Recess Christmas Gretchen Grundler Voice, direct-to-video
Rustin Lee Wolford[65]
2003 The Failures Lilly Kyle
Recess: All Growed Down Gretchen Grundler Voice, direct-to-video[64]
Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade Gretchen Grundler Voice, direct-to-video[64]
2004 Killer Diller Angie
King of the Corner Elena Spivak
2005 Nearing Grace Merna Ash
2006 Fast Food Nation Amber
Grad Night Student
2007 The Brothers Solomon Patricia
2008 Columbus Day Alana
Otis Riley Lawson
2009 Spread Eva
2011 The Help Mary Beth Caldwell
2012 The Avengers Beth
Much Ado About Nothing Margaret
2015 When Marnie Was There Emily, Miyoko Voice, English dub
2016 Punching Henry Danielle
2018 All You Can Eat Liza[citation needed]


Denotes series that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1990–1992 Growing Pains Chrissy Seaver Main role (seasons 6–7)
1992 Kids Incorporated Girl in audience Uncredited; episode: "The Boy of La Mancha"
1993 Men Don't Tell Cindy Television film
The Town Santa Forgot Granddaughter Voice; television special
Timmy's Special Delivery: A Precious Moments Christmas Holly, additional voices Voice; television special[citation needed]
1993–1994 Phenom Mary Margaret Doolan Main role
1994 All-American Girl Casey Emmerson Main role
1995 Annie: A Royal Adventure! Annie Warbucks Television film
Roseanne Lisa Episode: "The Blaming of the Shrew"
What a Cartoon! Mina Voice, episode: "Mina and the Count: Interlude with a Vampire" [64]
1995–1996 Maybe This Time Gracie Wallace Main role
1996–1999 Jumanji Peter Shepherd 40 episodes
1997 Moloney Kate Moloney 3 episodes
Wings Rebecca Episode: "Ms. Write"
1997–2001 Recess Gretchen Grundler Voice, 129 episodes
1998 ER Dana Ellis 2 episodes
Kelly Kelly Maureen Kelly Main role
2000 The Growing Pains Movie Chrissy Seaver Television film
2001 What About Joan Jody Bradford Episode: "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Joan"
2002 Ally McBeal Serena Feldman Episode: "Heart and Soul"
The Guardian Betsy Fortunato Episode: "Sacrifice"
Lloyd in Space Violet Voice, 4 episodes
Providence Daphne Wallace 3 episodes
Roswell Eileen Burrows 2 episodes
Touched by an Angel Natalie Tate Episode: "Bring On the Rain"
2003–2004 Married to the Kellys Shari 2 episodes
2004 Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers Chrissy Seaver Television film
2004–2006 Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! Jinmay Voice, 12 episodes [64]
Teen Titans Terra Voice, 7 episodes [64]
2004–2010 King of the Hill Emily, Jamie Voice, 7 episodes
2005 The X's Kimla Voice
2006 Lilo & Stitch: The Series Gretchen Grundler Voice, episode: "Lax"
2007 Heartland Rebecca Colton Episode: "Mother & Child Reunion"
Monk Susie the Maid Episode: "Mr. Monk Is at Your Service"
2007, 2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Dreama Little, Brothel Girl 2 episodes
2008 Dirt Sharlee Cates Recurring role (season 2)
The Mentalist Clara Tennant Episode: "Seeing Red"
The Middleman Eleanor Draper Episode: "The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation"
Raising the Bar Elise Denton Episode: "Hang Time"
2008–2010 Ben 10: Alien Force Gwen Tennyson, additional voices 45 episodes [64]
2009 Cold Case Graces Stearns (1966) Episode: "The Crossing"
Dollhouse Wendy, Caroline, Hayden Leeds 2 episodes
2010 Funny or Die Presents Girlfriend 1 episode
Lie to Me Valerie Episode: "Beat the Devil"
2010–2018 Drunk History Various 3 episodes
2010–2012 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Gwen Tennyson, additional voices Voice, 52 episodes [64]
2011 In Plain Sight Sarah Collins, Sarah Peterschwim Episode: "Something A-mish"
2011–2012 The Killing Amber Ahmed Recurring role (season 1); special guest (season 2)
2011–2013 Pound Puppies Amelia, Toyo, Gina, Giblet, Kid #1 Voice, 6 episodes
2012 Drop Dead Diva Veronica Kramer Episode: "Road Trip"
Private Practice Kelly Episode: "The Time Has Come"
2012–2014 Ben 10: Omniverse Gwen Tennyson, additional voices Voice, 21 episodes [64]
2013 Masters of Sex Flora Banks Episode: "Fallout"
2013–2019 Teen Titans Go! Terra Voice, 6 episodes [64]
2014 Garfunkel and Oates Jane Episode: "Speechless"
2015 Naruto: Shippuden Shiseru Voice, 6 episodes; English dub [66]
Stalker Stephanie Beekman Episode: "My Hero"
2015–2017 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Renet Voice, 6 episodes [64]
2015–2020 Blindspot Patterson Main role
2019–2020 Infinity Train Tulip Olsen, Mirror Tulip / Lake, Steward Voice, 20 episodes [64]
2021 Close Enough Kristen Voice, episode: "Where'd You Go, Bridgette?"
Family Guy Lisa Voice, episode: "Customer of the Week"
2022–present The Legend of Vox Machina Pike Trickfoot Voice, main role; also executive producer [67][68][64]
2023 The Last of Us Anna Episode: "Look for the Light" [69]
TBA Among Us Purple Voice [70]
TBA Mighty Nein Yasha Nydoorin Voice; in production [71]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2005 Teen Titans Terra [64]
2008 Ben 10: Alien Force Gwen Tennyson [64]
2009 Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks Gwen Tennyson [64]
2010 Ben 10 Alien Force: The Rise of Hex Gwen Tennyson
Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Cosmic Destruction Gwen Tennyson
2011 Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Gwen Tennyson
2013 Marvel Heroes Spider-Woman / Gwen Stacy Uncredited
The Last of Us Ellie Voice and motion capture[64]
VGX Award for Best Voice Actress
BAFTA Games Award for Best Performer
D.I.C.E. Award for Outstanding Character Performance
2014 The Last of Us: Left Behind Ellie Also motion capture
2014 BAFTA Games Award for Best Performer[72]
Infamous First Light Jenny [64]
Tales from the Borderlands Gortys, Hyperion System "Hyperion System" is credited as "additional voices"
Final Fantasy Explorers Additional voices English version
2015 Skylanders: SuperChargers Gadfly Glades collector / additional voices
Lego Dimensions Terra Uncredited
Minecraft: Story Mode Petra [64]
2016 The Witness Additional voices
Lego Marvel's Avengers Beth the Waitress [73]
2017 Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two Petra [64]
2018 Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Narrator, Pike Trickfoot, Ydwin Critical Role DLC[74][75]
2020 The Last of Us Part II Ellie Voice and motion capture[64]
Nominated for Best Performance at The Game Awards 2020[76]
Nominated for Best Performer in a Leading Role at 2020 BAFTA Games Award[77]
Nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Character at the 24th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards[78]
2021 NAVGTR Award for Outstanding Performance in a Drama, Lead[79]
2023 Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Calliope [80]

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013–2015 Tabletop Herself 2 episodes
2015–present Critical Role
Main cast[81][82]
2020 Animal Talking with Gary Whitta Herself (voice) 1 episode[83]
2021 Exandria Unlimited Fearne Calloway 8 episodes[35][36][37]
2023 Candela Obscura Auggie James 3 episodes[84][85]


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  5. ^ Cf. among others the death announcement for Ingvald Taft in Nordisk Tidende December 26, 1957, in which one of his grandsons, Cliff Johnson, was mentioned, as well as Nordisk Tidende December 11, 1941 (marriage of Cliff's parents Reuben Johnson and Evelyn Taft) and Nordisk Tidende January 5, 1950 (which among others tells that Ingvald Taft originally came from Arendal, while his late wife Victoria Kristensen came from Vanse. See also Victoria's christening in Vest-Agder county, Vanse in Vanse, Parish register (official) no. A 12 (1879–1903), Born and baptised 1887, Page 84, no. 20, cf. Victoria's petition for naturalization of September 22, 1922, Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794–1940.
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  51. ^ The Making of "Your Turn to Roll" (YouTube). Critical Role Productions. March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 13, 2023. [Video description] Vocals: Laura Bailey, Ashley Johnson, Sam Riegel, Travis Willingham
  52. ^ Campaign 3 Opening Title: It's Thursday Night (Critical Role Theme) (YouTube). Critical Role Productions. December 10, 2021. Retrieved March 13, 2023. [Video description] Vocals by: Laura Bailey, Liam O'Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, Travis Willingham
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  68. ^ "WATCH: Critical Role Performs a Scene from The Legend of Vox Machina". CBR. October 8, 2021. Retrieved October 8, 2021. The players from the original campaign are all reprising the roles of their RPG characters, and they will also serve as the executive producers for the new animated series.
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