Fast Facts

  • His first acting role was in elementary school, where he played a teddy bear in a toy shop.
  • Among his high-school classmates were adult-film star Ron Jeremy and former CIA director George Tenet. While VelJohnson had a starring role in the class production of The King and I, Jeremy played piano in the orchestra.
  • Was the only Family Matters cast member to appear in every episode of the series, which was a spinoff of the sitcom Perfect Strangers.
  • In 1993, he was awarded the inaugural Spirit Award for his volunteer work with the Catholic Big Brothers organization.
  • Learned the long-running Family Matters was canceled when he received a call to clean out his dressing room.
  • Portrayed Sgt. Al Powell in the first two Die Hard films, provided the character's voice in the 2002 video game Die Hard: Vendetta and reprised the role in the 2008 "Chuck Versus Santa Claus" episode of NBC's Chuck.
  • Wrote and starred in the 2005 film short Sunday Evening Haircut, about a couple whose marriage is troubled because he feels his wife is overly religious.


  • Dan Johnson — Father
  • Eva Riley — Mother
  • John Riley — Stepfather
  • Barry VelJohnson — Brother


  • New York University, New York, New York, United States (BA in Theater)
  • Long Island Institute of Music and Arts, New York

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  • Birth Name: Reginald Vel Johnson
  • Birth Place: Queens, New York, United States
  • Profession: Actor, Writer

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