Don Johnson


15 Dec 1949


Flat Creek, Missouri, USA


Donnie Wayne Johnson


Best known for his starring role as Det. Sonny Crockett on the hugely successful TV series Miami Vice (1984), Don Johnson is one of the stars who really defined the 1980s. As James "Sonny" Crockett he went toe-to-toe with drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, assassins, illegal arms-dealers and crooked cops on a weekly basis from 1984 to 1989, appearing in a grand total of 110 episodes. The show, which was executive-produced by four time Oscar-nominated director, producer and writer Michael Mann, paired Johnson with the equally cool Philip Michael Thomas as Det. Ricardo Tubbs and the calm and stoic presence of Edward James Olmos as Lt. Martin Castillo. It revolutionized television with its modern fashion, pop music, unique style and use of real locations. Johnson typically wore $1000 Armani, Versace and Hugo Boss suits over pastel cotton T-shirts, drove a Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona (later a Ferrari Testarossa) and lived on an Endeavour 42-foot sailboat named "St. Vitus' Dance" with his pet alligator Elvis. He also had full use of an offshore powerboat. Still, "Miami Vice" had not only style but substance, and his portrayal of the Vietnam veteran turned vice detective turned Sonny Crockett into the world's favorite cop. For his work on "Miami Vice" Johnson won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series in 1986, and was nominated in the same category a year later. He also picked up an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1985.

Johnson was born in Flat Creek, Missouri, the son Eva Lea (Wilson), a beautician, and Freddie Wayne Johnson, a farmer. As a kid, he wanted to become a professional bowler. Later, after a few brushes with the law at a young age, he discovered acting. After working on the stage for a while he ventured into films and television, but was not able to break into stardom despite, among other things, starring in the sci-fi cult classic A Boy and His Dog (1975). During the late 1960s and early 70s, Johnson had two short-lived marriages that were annulled; the names of his first two wives have never been made public. Tippi Hedren, Johnson's co-star in The Harrad Experiment (1973), allowed him to date her daughter Melanie Griffith despite the fact that she was only 14 and he was 22; the relationship culminated in a six-month marriage during 1976. In the 1980s he lived with actress Patti D'Arbanville and they had one son together. He remarried Griffith in 1989, but divorced in 1996 when she left him for Antonio Banderas. Johnson has been married to fifth wife Kelly Phleger since 1999, and they have three children together.

Johnson starred in four failed TV pilots before landing his career-high role on "Miami Vice", which propelled him to superstardom. He directed four highly praised episodes of the show, one of them co-starring Melanie Griffith. He balanced his work on the series by appearing in the critically acclaimed TV film The Long Hot Summer (1985), an adaptation of the William Faulkner novel, and the film Sweet Hearts Dance (1988) with Susan Sarandon. After the series ended he focused solely on his film career. Although movies like Dead Bang (1989), The Hot Spot (1990) and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) did not fare well with the critics, quite a few of them have obtained a considerable cult following, with fans praising them as all being quality contributions to their genre. His film work has given Johnson the opportunity to work with legendary filmmakers like John Frankenheimer, Sidney Lumet and Dennis Hopper.

After working steadily, Johnson returned to TV in 1996 with the cop show Nash Bridges (1996). The show, which Johnson created and produced, did very well. It co-starred Cheech Marin and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe. Johnson played the title role, a captain in the San Francisco PD's Special Investigations Unit. He was again paired with a flashy vehicle, this time an electric-yellow 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible. After "Nash Bridges" went off the air Johnson kept a low profile, but continues to appear in films and on television. He starred in the failed WB courtroom drama Just Legal (2005), which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and has traveled to Europe to make such films as the Norwegian screwball comedy Long Flat Balls II (2008) and the Italian films Bastardi (2008) and Torno a vivere da solo (2008). He will soon be seen in the romantic comedy When in Rome (2010) with Anjelica Huston and Danny DeVito, as well as the indie comedy A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011). 'Don Johnson (I)' starred in the 2007 feature film, _"Moondance Alexander" (2007)_, along with Lori Loughlin, Kay Panabaker, James Best, Sasha Cohen, and Whitney Sloan.

Actor ( 96 credits )

Vengeance: A Love Story (2017)
Sick Note (2017)
Blood & Oil (2015)  Hap Briggs (10 episodes, 2015)
The Other Woman (2014) Frank
Alex of Venice (2014)
Cold in July (2014) Jim Bob
From Dusk Till Dawn (2014)  Sheriff Earl McGraw / ... (6 episodes, 2014)
HuffPost Live Conversations (2014)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
TripTank (2014)  Johnny Bahama (1 episode)
Ok! TV (2013)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
Django Unchained (2012) Big Daddy
Vivir de cine (2012)  Himself (1 episode, 2013)
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (2011) Miles Deep
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011) Jerry Keppler (uncredited)
Four Loko Vineyards (2011)
Machete (2010) Von Jackson
When in Rome (2010) Beth's Dad (uncredited)
Conan (2010)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
Eastbound & Down (2009)  Eduardo Sanchez (5 episodes, 2010-2012)
Glenn Martin DDS (2009)  Grandpa Whitey (4 episodes, 2010-2011)
Torno a vivere da solo (2008) Nico
Long Flat Balls II (2008) Admiral Burnett
Bastardi (2008) Sante Patene
Moondance Alexander (2007) Dante Longpre
The Graham Norton Show (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
Memòries de la tele (2007)  Himself (archive footage) (2 episodes, 2009)
La imagen de tu vida (2006)  Detective James Crockett (1 episode, 2006)
La rentadora (2006)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2005)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2010-2012)
Just Legal (2005)  Grant Cooper (8 episodes, 2005-2006)
Cinema mil (2005)  David Edgar Greenhill / ... (1 episode, 2005)
Le grand journal de Canal+ (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Piñero (2001) Detective Sonny Crocket (archive footage) (uncredited)
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Richard & Judy (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy (2001) Himself (archive footage)
Goodbye Lover (1998) Ben Dunmore
The View (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
Corazón de... (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Leute heute (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2002)
Tin Cup (1996) David Simms
Nash Bridges (1996)  Insp. Nash Bridges / ... (122 episodes, 1996-2001)
E! True Hollywood Story (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2001)
MADtv (1995)  Himself (1 episode, 2001)
Guilty as Sin (1993) David Edgar Greenhill
Born Yesterday (1993) Paul Verrall
WWF Raw (1993)  Himself (2 episodes, 2010)
Quelli che... il calcio (1993)  Himself (2 episodes, 2007)
Paradise (1991) Ben Reed
Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) Marlboro
The Hot Spot (1990) Harry Madox
The Word (1990) (1 episode, 1991)
Un dia és un dia (1990)  Himself (1 episode, 1990)
Dead Bang (1989) Jerry Beck
The Arsenio Hall Show (1989)  Himself (1 episode, 1994)
After Hours (1989)  Himself (1 episode, 1990)
Clive James' Postcard from... (1989)  Himself (1 episode, 1990)
Sweet Hearts Dance (1988) Wiley Boon
Biography (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
Cease Fire (1985) Tim Murphy
Larry King Live (1985)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
America (1985)  Himself (1 episode, 1985)
Miami Vice (1984)  Detective James Crockett (111 episodes, 1984-1990)
Cover Story (1984)  Himself (1 episode, 1988)
Cinema 3 (1984)  Himself (1 episode, 2013)
Aladdin and the Magic Lamp (1982) Wazir's Son (voice)
Melanie (1982) Carl
Matt Houston (1982)  Terry Spence (1 episode, 1983)
Soggy Bottom, U.S.A. (1981) Jacob Gorch
Swan Lake (1981) Benno (English version) (voice)
Entertainment Tonight (1981)  Himself (4 episodes, 2008-2014)
From Here to Eternity (1980)  Jefferson 'Jeff' Davis Prewitt (1 episode, 1980)
Tales of the Unexpected (1979)  Reeve Baker (1 episode, 1985)
The American Girls (1978) (1 episode, 1978)
Eight Is Enough (1977)  Doug (1 episode, 1977)
What Really Happened to the Class of '65? (1977)  Edgar (1 episode, 1978)
Nashville 99 (1977)  Mike Watling (1 episode, 1977)
Big Hawaii (1977)  Gandy (1 episode, 1977)
Return to Macon County (1975) Harley McKay
A Boy and His Dog (1975) Vic
Saturday Night Live (1975)  Himself (uncredited) (1 episode, 1988)
The Harrad Experiment (1973) Stanley Cole
Barnaby Jones (1973)  Wayne Lockwood (1 episode, 1976)
Police Story (1973)  Lee Morgan (1 episode, 1977)
The Streets of San Francisco (1972)  Off. Larry Wilson (1 episode, 1976)
Kung Fu (1972)  Nashebo (1 episode, 1973)
The Rookies (1972)  Al Devering (1 episode, 1974)
Young Dr. Kildare (1972)  Ted Thatcher (1 episode, 1972)
Lollipops, Roses and Talangka (1971) Frank
Zachariah (1971) Matthew
Sarge (1971)  Deloy Coopersmith (1 episode, 1971)
The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970) Stanley Sweetheart
The Bold Ones: The New Doctors (1969)  Ev Howard (1 episode, 1972)
Brawl in Cell Block 99 (0) Warden Tuggs

Producer ( 3 credits )

Blood & Oil (2015) executive producer (10 episodes, 2015)
Nash Bridges (1996) executive producer (122 episodes, 1996-2001)
The Marshal (1995) executive producer (unknown episodes)

Director ( 2 credits )

The Marshal (1995) (1 episode, 1995)
Miami Vice (1984) (4 episodes, 1985-1988)