Vernee Watson-Johnson

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Vernee Watson–Johnson
Born Vernee Christell Watson
(1954-01-14) January 14, 1954 (age 63)[1]
Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Vernee Watson–Johnson
  • Actress
  • author
  • voice actress
  • acting coach
Years active 1970–present
Known for Vernajean WilliamsWelcome Back, Kotter
Viola "Vy" SmithThe Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Spouse(s) Joe Duckett
(m. 1976; div. 1977)

Van Johnson
(m. 1979; div. 1991)
Children 1

Vernee Christell Watson–Johnson (born Vernee Christell Watson; January 14, 1954) is an American actress, author, voice artist, and acting coach. Watson–Johnson is best known for her recurring roles as Vernajean Williams on Welcome Back, Kotter (1975–79)[2] and as Viola "Vy" Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990–96), playing the mother of Will Smith's character.


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, The X-Files, 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[3] In 2017, Watson–Johnson was cast as Stella on the soap opera General Hospital, aunt of Donnell Turner's character Curtis Ashford.[5][6]

Personal life[edit]

Watson–Johnson has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Joe Duckett from 1976 until 1977, and later was to photographer Van Johnson from 1979 to 1991. Watson–Johnson has a daughter name Sunde Jinia Johnson (b. 1983) with Johnson.[7] In 2005, Watson-Johnson was a witness in Michael Jackson's second case of child molestation.[8][9]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1970 Cotton Comes to Harlem Woman [10][11]
1972 Trick Baby Cleo Howard
1976 Norman... Is That You? Melody


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1977–1980 Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels Dee Dee Main
2017–present General Hospital Stella Recurring [5][6]


Year Title Role
2003 True Crime: Streets of LA Dispatcher
2004 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Pedestrian
2006 The Ant Bully Head Nurse


External links[edit]