In the late 1960s, he was one of the male contestants on the popular television show The Dating Game. In the late 1960's, Johnson was in a psychedelic rock band called the Horses. Also in the band were future members of the band Kingfish, which featured Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir. The band put out one self-titled record on the White Whale label in 1969, later re-issued on the Gear Fab label in 2004 and then on the Rev-Ola label in 2005.
Family and Love Life
Johnson was married twice to actress Melanie Griffith (briefly in 1976 and then from 1989-1996). In 1998, he married San Francisco socialite and former preschool teacher Kelley Phleger.
Johnson lived with Pamela Miller in the early 1970s and with Patti D'Arbanville from 1981 to 1985. Johnson had a relationship with Barbra Streisand and created a single with her called "Till I Loved You". Johnson had a relationship with Jeanne Anderson in 1996.
Johnson has 5 children:
With D'Arbanville, a son: Jesse Wayne Johnson (born on December 7, 1982)
With Griffith, a daughter: Dakota Mayi Johnson (born October 4, 1989)
With Phleger, a daughter: Atherton Grace Johnson (born on December 28, 1999)
With Phleger, a son: Jasper Breckinridge Johnson (born on June 6, 2002)
With Phleger, a son: Deacon (born on April 29, 2006)
Johnson studied drama at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. His first major role was in the 1969 Los Angeles stage production of Fortune and Men's Eyes in which he played Smitty, the lead role. This exposure led to the quickly forgotten 1970 film The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart. He continued to work on stage, film and television without breaking out into stardom. His notable films from this period were The Harrad Experiment (1973) and A Boy and His Dog (1975). He was referred to as a "six-time loser" in Hollywood as a result of having been featured in six failed pilot television series.
Major television roles
In September 1984 Johnson's fortunes changed when he became a household name as a result of his co-starring role as Sonny Crockett in the popular 1980s cop series, Miami Vice. In this role, Johnson played a police detective working undercover as a drug smuggler. He typically wore thousand dollar Versace and Hugo Boss suits over pastel cotton t-shirts, drove a Ferrari Daytona (later a Ferrari Testarossa) and lived on a 42-foot yacht with his pet alligator Elvis. Miami Vice was noted for its revolutionary use of music, cinematography, and imagery as well as a more glitzy take on the police drama genre.
Johnson later starred in the 1996-2001 drama Nash Bridges with Cheech Marin and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe. Johnson played the title role of Nash Bridges, a detective for the San Francisco Police Department. In Nash Bridges Johnson was again paired with a flashy convertible car, this time an electric yellow 1971 Plymouth Barracuda.
In the fall of 2005, he briefly starred in The WB courtroom television drama show Just Legal as a jaded lawyer with a very young and idealistic protegé/partner (Jay Baruchel); the show was cancelled in October 2006.
In January 2007, Johnson began a run in the London West End production of Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit. American actor/dancer Patrick Swayze preceded Johnson in the role.
Awards & Recognitions
In 1996, Johnson received a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame for his role in television. This is located at 7080 Hollywood Blvd.
Golden Globe Award Best Actor in a Television Series (Drama) "Miami Vice" - 1985
Brushes with the law
Johnson has had several brushes with the law.