Vernee Watson-Johnson

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Vernee Watson-Johnson
Born Vernee Christell Watson
(1954-01-14) January 14, 1954 (age 64)[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
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. She also voiced Dee Dee on Hanna-Barbera's animated series Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. She also appeared in an NCIS episode (Season 14, Episode 2: "Being Bad"). “Family Dinner Tonight” American Honda Finance Company Commercial (September 2018)


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 Henry on the soap opera General Hospital, aunt of Donnell Turner's character Curtis Ashford.[5][6] She won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Guest Performer in a Drama Series for the role in 2018.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Watson-Johnson has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Joe Duckett from 1976 until 1977, and was last married to photographer Van Johnson from 1979 to 1991. Watson-Johnson has a daughter name Sunde Jinia Johnson (b. 1983) with Johnson.[8] In 2005, Watson-Johnson was a witness in Michael Jackson's second case of child molestation.[9][10]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1970 Cotton Comes to Harlem Woman [11][12]
1972 Trick Baby Cleo Howard
1976 Norman... Is That You? Melody
1978 Death Drug Carolyn Thomas
1981 All Night Long Emily
1991 Showdown in Little Tokyo Nonnie Russell - Coroner
2002 Antwone Fisher Annette Elkins
2006 The Ant Bully Head Nurse (voice)
2018 Home by Spring Mrs. Wilson


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1975–1976 Welcome Back, Kotter Verna Jean Williams 13 episodes
1977 Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics Dee Dee Sykes (voice) Unknown episode/s
1977–1979 Carter Country Lucille Banks 44 episodes
1977–1980 Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels Dee Dee Sykes (voice) Main [13]
1985–1986 Foley Square Denise Willums 14 episodes
1990–1996 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Viola "Vy" Smith 15 episodes
1991–1992 Baby Talk Baby Danielle Craig (voice) 20 episodes
2004 Two and a Half Men Nurse Episode: "Ate the Hamburgers, Wearing the Hats"
2006 Desperate Housewives Nurse Episode: “Listen to the rain on the roof”
The Big Bang Theory Nurse Althea 5 episodes
Also credited as Vernée Watson
2011 Good Luck Charlie Principal Hibbert Episode: "Teddy's Bear"
2013 Mr. Box Office Mrs. Owens Episode: "Holy Matriphony"
2015 Two And A Half Men Karen Episode: "Boompa Loved His Hookers"
2016 NCIS Miss Helen Frimkes Episode: "Being Bad"
2017–present General Hospital Stella Henry Recurring [5][6]
2017 Young Sheldon Nurse Robinson Guest
Credited as Vernee Watson
Episode: "Poker, Faith, and Eggs"
2018 The Resident Mary Phillips Episode: "The Elopement"

Video games[edit]

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



  1. ^ Historical Dictionary of African American Television - Watson, Vernee (1954-) - Kathleen Fearn-Banks, Anne Burford-Johnson
  2. ^ The A to Z of African-American Television - Vernee Watson - By Kathleen Fearn-Banks
  3. ^ a b "Vernee Watson-Johnson profile". Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "Vernee Watson-Johnson voiceography". Voice Chasers. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  5. ^ a b (June 2, 2017). "GENERAL HOSPITAL COMINGS & GOINGS". United States: SheKnows Media. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Eades, Chris (June 7, 2017). "Who Plays Curtis' Aunt Stella on GENERAL HOSPITAL? — Meet Vernee Watson!". ABC Soaps In Depth. United States: Bauer Publications. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Ramos, Dino-Ray (April 29, 2018). "Daytime Emmy Awards Complete Winners List: Days Of Our Lives, The Talk, GMA Among Honorees". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  8. ^ JET Magazine - Actress Vernee Watson Has First Child, Girl, 6 1/2 Lbs. - May 9, 1983
  9. ^ "Witness Testimony: 5/18: Actress Vernee Watson Johnson". CBS News. New York City: CBS. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  10. ^ "Michael Jackson Trial Continues". Life. United States: Time Inc. May 18, 2005. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  11. ^ "Cotton Comes to Harlem". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Himes, Chester (1966). Cotton comes to Harlem. New York City: Dell Publishing. ASIN B0007EYQFO.
  13. ^

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