Childhood & Early Life
Reginald VelJohnson was born on August 16, 1952, in New York City, US, to Eve and Reginald Johnson Sr. His mother worked as a nurse in a hospital, and his father was a hospital attendant. Reginald grew up with a younger brother named Barry.
When Reginald was 13 years old, his father abandoned the family, forcing Reginald’s mother to raise the boys as a single mother. Sometime later, she got married to John Reilly.
Reginald studied at the ‘Benjamin N. Cardozo High School’ in New York City, where he also had former ‘CIA’ director George Tenet and porn star Ron Jeremy as his classmates.
He had artistic inclinations ever since he was young. Following his high-school graduation, he decided to pursue art further and enrolled at the ‘New York University’ to study fine arts. He earned his master’s degree in fine arts from the ‘New York University’ and moved to Los Angeles to build a career in acting.
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Reginald made his film debut in 1981, with a small role as a morgue attendant in the crime horror ‘Wolfen’. Three years later, he played yet another small role, a corrections officer, in the fantasy–comedy film titled ‘Ghostbusters.’
Reginald made his TV debut in 1985, with the crime-drama series titled ‘The Equalizer.’ The series featured him in three different characters in three separate episodes.
In 1986, he earned a slightly bigger role, ‘Gus,’ in the comedy–action film titled ‘Crocodile Dundee.’ The film was praised by critics and audiences, thereby helping Reginald in strengthening his career. Over time, the film attained the status of a cult classic.
In 1988, Reginald had the biggest breakthrough of his career when he appeared in the action drama ‘Die Hard.’ Starring Bruce Willis in the lead role, the film was the biggest success of the year. Reginald’s performance as ‘Sgt. Al Powell’ was also appreciated. The film became a cult hit, and Reginald reprised his role in the 1990 movie ‘Die Hard 2.’
In 1989, Reginald got the role that he is best known for to date. He was cast to play ‘Carl Winslow,’ one of the main roles in the sitcom ‘Family Matters.’ The series became a huge critical and commercial success, and Reginald reprised his role in the rest of its eight seasons, appearing in 215 episodes of the series.
However, the success of the show did not help Reginald in his acting career. Even after the show ended in the late 1990s, Reginald was mostly busy doing theatrical plays. However, he had appeared in many guest roles in the 1990s, such as those in the series ‘Dream On’ and ‘Tales from the Crypt.’
In 1993, he appeared as ‘Preston’ in the revisionist Western film titled ‘Posse.’ Other than his lead role in ‘Family Matters,’ his career was mostly inactive during the 1990s.
In early 2000s, he played supporting roles in films such as ‘Ground Zero’ and ‘Like Mike.’ He played guest roles in series such as ‘The Fugitive,’ ‘Crossing Jordan,’ ‘The Parkers,’ and ‘That’s So Raven.’
In 2004, he played ‘She’ in the ‘Broadway’ play titled ‘She All Dat!’ Around the same time, he wrote the critically acclaimed series of short stories ‘Division Street.’
In the mid-2000s, he strengthened his film career with supporting roles in films such as ‘Suits on the Loose,’ ‘Death to the Supermodels,’ ‘Hidden Secrets,’ and ‘Three Days to Vegas.’ He also appeared in a key role in the short film titled ‘Sunday Evening Haircut.’ The film was based on a story from ‘Division Street.’ He also worked as an executive producer for the film.
While his film roles consisted of mainly supporting or small roles in films, his TV career moved at a comparatively steadier pace.
He appeared in recurring roles in series such as ‘I’m in the Band,’ ‘Hart of Dixie,’ and ‘Tron: Uprising.’ In the more recent years, he has played guest roles in series such as ‘Girl Meets World’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine.’
In 2019, he began playing the voice role of ‘God’ in the series titled ‘Lazor Wulf.’
Family & Personal Life
There have been rumors about Reginald VelJohnson being gay. However, this has not been confirmed. He is reportedly single.
In February 2017, a website reported that Reginald had died of a heart attack. However, he himself refuted the claim on ‘Twitter.’
Reginald is an avid runner and constantly participates in marathons.