You probably remember actor Reginald VelJohnson as Steve Urkel’s frenemy and sometimes father figure in the long-running sitcom Family Matters. If not, then you probably saw in him Die Hard and Die Hard 2, where he reprised his role as a police officer. He’s also appeared in:
- Turner & Hooch
- Crocodile Dundee
Recently, he’s been making guest appearances in quite a few popular TV shows, including, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mike & Molly, Hart of Dixie and Meet the Browns. But it seems as if his most fitting role will always be that of a cop. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said that he still receives a lot of offers to play someone in the force, which he doesn’t mind.
“I don’t know what it is about me and this cop thing,” Reginald said during the interview, “Everyone always assumes that I’m someone on the force, but as long as they are paying me, I will play a cop until the day I die.”
Reginald was born in Queens, New York. His parents were Eve, a nurse, and Reginald Johnson, a hospital attendant. He attended Benjamin N. Cardozo High School where he was classmates with George Tent and Ron Jeremy. Eventually, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts from New York University.
He changed his named from Reginald Vel Johnson to Reginald VelJohnson because he “wanted a name people would remember.”
His most notable roles are related to law enforcement. In Ghostbusters, he played a small role as a Municipal Corrections Officer, and in Die Hard and Die Hard 2 he played Sgt. Al Powell. But his most notable role was that of Carl Winslow in Family Matters, where Jo Marie Payton played his wife.
He briefly reprised his role of Sgt. Powell in the GameCube video game Die Hard: Vendetta. But during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said he would be interested in reprising that very same role in a movie, but only under special circumstances. “It would have to be something unique,’ said VelJohnson, “Maybe you could have John McClane fighting zombies, that could work.”
Today, Reginald has mostly been working in theater. He wrote a critically acclaimed series of short stories called Division Street, with one of the stories, “Sunday Evening Haircut”, getting turned into a short film in 2005. The film starred Reginald and Kiki Sheppard.
A few other shows where you can find Reginald include The Equalizer, Will & Grace, Monk, CSI and That’s So Raven.
He’s also a great comedian. He appeared in the HBO film made in collaboration with Funnyordie.com, Just 3 Boyz, which also starred Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim and Zack Galifianakis.