Philip Johnson (actor)
|Born||Philip Mark Johnson
July 28, 1991
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
|Parent(s)||Gwen and Mark Johnson|
Philip Mark Johnson (born July 28, 1991 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American actor from Detroit, Michigan. A 2009 honors graduate of Cass Technical High School, Johnson currently attends the University of Michigan. He played the title character in the 2009 Lifetime Television film America based on the book by E.R. Frank. Acting opposite Rosie O'Donnell and Ruby Dee, Johnson portrayed a troubled teenager placed in a youth treatment facility after attempting suicide who struggled to work through his traumatic past experiences with foster care and sexual abuse.
America was Johnson's first film; his prior acting experience was limited to one middle school play. Johnson was discovered by America's executive producer Rosie O'Donnell and Larry Santisky at a Detroit coffee shop called Small Plates. O'Donnell, who was in town to work on America, told Entertainment Tonight that she sensed "a soulful kind of stillness" in Johnson. O'Donnell's casting crew had seen almost 200 kids for the role, but was still undecided, because the boy needed to be "vulnerable, fragile, wounded, broken and non-presentational". But Philip Johnson fit the bill perfectly. O'Donnell invited Johnson to read for the lead role the next day. Johnson impressed the cast and crew with his spot-on reading and got the role immediately.
In the movie, Johnson's younger brother, Steven Johnson, played the same character at age 10.
On February 26, 2010, Johnson and his parents attended the 41st NAACP Image Awards, where he was nominated for a 2010 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatic Special. He lost out to Academy Award winning actor, Cuba Gooding, Jr, for his work in Gifted Hands.
Johnson graduated with honors in June 2009 from Cass Technical High School. Having been recruited by several Ivy League colleges including Harvard and Northwestern, he elected to attend the University of Michigan. In interviews, Johnson stated that he was planning to major in engineering, but is now considering a career in acting.
- O'Donnell grants rookie star an 'America' dream. USA Today, 3/1/09.
- BuddyTv: Former 'View' host eyes Philip Johnson for TV movie
- ET Online: Rosie O'Donnell's Incredible Search for 'America'
- Philip Johnson interview on Craig Furguson's Late Late Shaw on 16 February 2009
- Michigan Engineering|Freshman nominated for NAACP Image Award
- 2010 NAACP Image Awards
- Rosie O'Donnell and Philip Johnson on Tyra Banks Show on February 26, 2009