Vernee Watson-Johnson

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Vernee Watson-Johnson
Born Vernee Christell Watson
(1954-01-14) January 14, 1954 (age 62)
Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Vernee Watson-Johnson
Occupation Actress, author, voice actress, acting coach
Years active 1970–present
Known for Vernajean Williams on Welcome Back, Kotter
Viola "Vy" Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Spouse(s) Joe Duckett (m. 1976–77)

Vernee Christell Watson-Johnson (born Vernee Christell Watson; January 14, 1954) is an American actress, author, voice artist, and acting coach. She is best known for her recurring roles as Vernajean Williams on Welcome Back, Kotter and as Viola "Vy" Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, playing the mother of Will Smith's character. In March 2014, she appeared in Teen Wolf.


Watson-Johnson played Blue's love interest in the 1972 film Trick Baby. She was also a regular cast member of the 1985-86 situation comedy Foley Square as Denise Willums, the secretary for Alex Harrigan, played by the show's star, Margaret Colin. She played a small role on Sister, Sister as Lisa's (Jackée Harry) best friend Patrice, and as the mayor's secretary, Lucille Banks, on Carter Country. She also had a recurring role as "Birdie" on The Young and the Restless. In 2005, she appeared in the film Christmas with the Kranks.

In addition, Watson-Johnson has made appearances in episodes of television shows as The Love Boat, Hill Street Blues, Married... with Children, L.A. Law, Suddenly Susan, Dharma & Greg, ER, Days of Our Lives, Malcolm in the Middle, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Desperate Housewives, Ghost Whisperer, Benson, The Big Bang Theory, Good Times, Dexter, Two and a Half Men, Southland, Criminal Minds, A.N.T. Farm, What's Happening!! and several other series.[1]

As a voice actress, she has been tied to Hanna-Barbera Productions and Warner Bros. Animation with roles in shows such as Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, Laff-A-Lympics, A Pup Named Scooby Doo, Animaniacs, Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, as well as the feature film The Ant Bully, and several video games related to these productions.[2] From 1991 to 1992, she lent her voice to the show Baby Talk, where she was the voice of baby Danielle (played by Alicia and Celicia Johnson). In 2006, Watson-Johnson had roles in three films: The Ant Bully, The Celestine Prophecy and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Watson-Johnson was married to Joe Duckett from 1976 until 1977. In 2005, Watson-Johnson was a witness in Michael Jackson's second case of child molestation.[3][4]


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Cotton Comes to Harlem Woman
1972 Trick Baby Cleo Howard
1976 Norman... Is That You? Melody


  1. ^ a b "Vernee Watson-Johnson profile". Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Vernee Watson-Johnson voiceography". Voice Chasers. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Witness Testimony: 5/18: Actress Vernee Watson Johnson". CBS Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Michael Jackson Trial Continues". May 18, 2005. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 

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