Reginald VelJohnson

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Reginald VelJohnson
Reginald Vel Johnson

(1952-08-16) August 16, 1952 (age 66)
EducationNew York University (MFA)
Years active1979–present
Known forCarl 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.

Early life[edit]

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.[1] His father left the family, which included Reginald's brother Barry,[2] when Johnson was 13 years old. Their mother subsequently married John Reilly.[3] Johnson attended Benjamin N. Cardozo High School where he was classmates with George Tenet.[4] He later obtained a Master of Fine Arts from New York University.[5] Before embarking on an 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."[6]

Reported death[edit]

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.[7] The fact checking website proved the claim to be false and VelJohnson took to Twitter to show he was still alive and doing well.[8]


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 two breakout roles in the late 1980s.[9] He played Sgt. Al Powell in the 1988 film Die Hard and later reprised the character in the 1990 sequel Die Hard 2, for which he still received fourth billing. VelJohnson again portrayed Sgt. Powell in the GameCube video game title, Die Hard: Vendetta, also in 2002.

In 1989, VelJohnson was cast as 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.[citation needed] 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.[10] The following year he appeared as the "Sgt. Al Powell" character from the Die Hard series in an episode of NBC's Chuck entitled "Chuck Versus the Santa Claus", as the cousin of Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence).[11] In 2010, VelJohnson started a recurring role as the principal on the Disney sitcom I'm in the Band and also's short HBO film entitled 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.[12]


Year Title Role Notes
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
1986 Crocodile Dundee Gus
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[citation needed] Short film
1993 Posse Preston
2000 Ground Zero Burt Green
2002 Like Mike Mr. Boyd
2005 Sunday Evening Haircut[citation needed] O.C. Short film
Producer, writer
2005 Suits on the Loose[citation needed] Brother Steedman
2005 Death to the Supermodels Tom Direct-to-video release
2006 Hidden Secrets[citation needed] Norman Wexler
2007 Three Days to Vegas Johnny
Out at the Wedding[citation needed] Dexter
2009 Steppin: The Movie Mr. Shavers
2010 Jelly (film)[citation needed] Joe Woods
2010 You Again Mason Dunlevy
2012 Brother White[citation needed] Hill
2012 Air Collision Bob Abbot
2013 The Formula[citation needed] Professor Millan
2014 12 Dog Days Till Christmas'[13] Probation Officer Art Stephenson
2018 Funny Story Hank
2018 The Prayer Box Billy Made for TV movie


Year Title Role Notes
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 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[citation needed] 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[citation needed] 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[citation needed] 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"
2019–present Lazor Wulf God (voice) Recurring role
Video games
Year Title Role Notes
2002 Die Hard: Vendetta Sgt. Al Powell Voice and likeness only


  1. ^ "Reginald VelJohnson Biography (1952–)". Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  2. ^ "Reginald Veljohnson [sic]". Archived from the original on September 18, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  3. ^ "Reginald Veljohnson Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  4. ^ "Queens Tribune Online, QConfidential". Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Buck, Jerry (November 16, 1989). "Reginald Veljohnson of `Family Matters' reminisces". The Dallas Morning News.
  7. ^ "FACT CHECK: Reginald VelJohnson Death Hoax". Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "Reginald VelJohnson on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  9. ^ "REGINALD VELJOHNSON". Washington Post. November 25, 1990. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ ""Chuck" Chuck Versus Santa Claus (TV Episode 2008)" – via
  12. ^ Smith, William. "Mixing 'The Formula' For Success". The Hawk Eye. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  13. ^ 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.

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