Don Johnson’s Son Is One Of The Hunkiest Young Men Alive Today

Apr 30, 2021 by apost team

Don Johnson is best known for playing James “Sonny” Crockett on the hit television show “Miami Vice” during the 1980s. He even won a Golden Globe Award for the role. Johnson also played the lead role, Nash Bridges in the TV series of the same name. The show aired during the 1990s and gained Johnson significant attention. He also has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Johnson’s career is still doing well, he had a recurring role on the HBO comedy series, “Eastbound and Down.” He was also in the popular Quentin Tarantino film, “Django Unchained” where he played a southern plantation owner. In 2019, Johnson played a supporting role in the murder-mystery “Knives Out,” which opened to a huge box office and critical success. It is great to see an actor go on to make so many films after shooting to fame so quickly in their early career. This shows audiences that Johnson has longevity as an actor.

Johnson was a household name in the 80s and 90s. He was referred to as a heartthrob. But such heights of fame can bring drawbacks. Despite having such a successful career, Johnson has faced many trials in his life which at times drew his attention away from his family. Including a few legal issues, drug addiction and five marriages. 

In spite of the negative, Johnson persisted and has become focused on his family. He married Kelley Phelger in 1999, and the couple has been together ever since. He has five children, including actress Dakota Johnson and actor Jesse Johnson. Johnson does what he can to make up for lost time with his older children and is incredibly doting with the younger three. 

Don Johnson (1989), (ARNAL/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images)

Don Johnson was born in Flat Creek, Missouri in 1949. His father was a farmer named Wayne Fred Johnson, and his mother is Nell Wilson, a beautician. His family relocated to Wichita, Kansas when he was 6 years old. Johnson has spoken openly about growing up poor and in a challenging household.

Johnson spoke about wanting to provide a better life for his children than he had experienced in his own childhood. Speaking to The Guardian about his childhood he said, “I had a horrible childhood, horrible. I had the quinella: abuse and parents who divorced when I was 12-years-old and I was the oldest. I really was unhappy and I left home at 16.” Leaving home so young must have been very hard on Johnson.

He graduated from Wichita South High School where he was very involved in the theater program. He briefly attended the University of Kansas as a theater major but left to attend the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco instead. Johnson’s first major role was in the Los Angeles stage production of “Fortune and Men’s Eyes'' which gained him positive attention and led to several film roles in the 1970s. 

Johnson starred in “Miami Vice” beginning in 1984. The show went on for five seasons, ending in 1990. The popular series is about two undercover vice detectives working in Miami. The show drew in popularity with its inclusion of stylized visuals and contemporary pop and rock music. Rolling Stone said about Johnson’s role, “No one had more swagger in the Reagan era than Don Johnson. As Miami Vice‘s Sonny Crockett, the undercover detective and professional stubble-cultivator who lived on a houseboat with his pet alligator Elvis, he embodied masculine cool in the era of coke binges and Lamborghinis.”

Philip Michael Thomas, Don Johnson (1984), (Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty Images)

It cannot be understated how much of an impact “Miami Vice” made in Johnson’s life. In the same interview with Rolling Stone, he said about his role, “I brought to the character a certain authenticity about how it goes down and the stakes. To try and figure out how much did Don Johnson slip into the character, and how much did the character become Don Johnson…those lines are blurred.” It is fascinating to know how much actors put of themselves into their roles.

After “Miami Vice,” Johnson went on to star in another police drama, “Nash Bridges.” He played the title role opposite Cheech Marin. The show was on the air from 1996 till 2001 on CBS. In the show, Johnson portrayed an inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, who is later promoted to captain. The show launched Johnson further into fame and solidified him as a household name.

Following the success of “Nash Bridges,” Johnson went on to be featured in a long list of films and television series throughout the early 2000s. In 2010, he had a supporting role in the film “Machete” starring Danny Trejo, in which he acted alongside his previous co-star Cheech Marin and opposite of acting giant, Robert DeNiro.

According to an interview Johnson did with Esquire, “Machete” is the film that gained him the attention of Tarantino who enjoyed Johnson’s performance and wanted him for his 2012 production, “Django Unchained.” In the same interview with Esquire, Johnson spoke about his experience working with Tarantino. He said, “Well, it took forever to shoot. It's a western. Quentin was irrepressible. He hung in there the whole time and stayed focused on his vision. That's hard to do over a seven-month period. He's amazing.”

Don Johnson (2019), (Vera Anderson/WireImage/Getty Images)

Johnson spoke with The Guardian about his acting in general. Speaking about himself as an actor, Johnson said, “I always felt confident about my skills and my ability. I had to overcome some physical attributes that, on the surface, you would think would be an asset, because I happened to be a very attractive young man.” Many women would agree with his last statement.

He elaborated on this idea of his good looks begin a hindrance, he said “I was sort of androgynous at a time when androgynous was not necessarily the thing. I was young, skinny as a rail and had long hair and my features… I was kind of a pretty boy. That’s not the way I felt about myself, but it was the thing I had to overcome to be taken seriously.”

In 2019, Johnson played the role of Richard Drysdale in Rian Johnson’s immensely popular film “Knives Out.” The film is a murder-mystery comedy that packs in laughs and a twisting plot. When speaking with Vulture, he said about the film’s inception, “It was the easiest thing that I’ve ever done. A brilliant filmmaker dropped an amazing script in my lap, and then we got on the phone, and we talked about everything under the sun except the script and the character, and he said, ‘Okay, I’ll see you in Boston.’” 

He spoke about his character in the same interview. He said “I liked (Richard) because he was kind of the purest personification of entitlement. I’ve known a lot of these kinds of guys throughout my life, who don’t really do anything, but they’re always walking around with about a half a buzz on.” It is interesting that Johnson was able to draw on real-life experience for his role.

Don Johnson, Barbra Streisand (1988), (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

In the mid-to-late 80s, Johnson also had a successful music career. He released two pop albums which had a good reception. His single “Heartbeat” reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 list. And his duet with then-girlfriend, Barbara Streisand, “Til I Loved You” reached the top 40 on the same list. Rolling Stone claims Johnson was beloved as a musician by Tom Petty in the same interview mentioned above.

When asked by Rolling Stone if he still sings, Johnson answered, “I get up occasionally and join an old friend on stage. Will Arnett got me up to sing an Otis Redding tune in France recently when we were hanging out. At the time I wanted to kill him, but it was so fun. I got to live a dream a lot of people don’t get to. And I’m happy with that.” 

Outside of just acting and singing, Johnson also has a love for powerboat racing. In 1988, he was named the World Champion of the Offshore World Cup by the American Power Boat Association. He won his first powerboat victory in 1986 in a race from New Orleans, Louisiana to St. Louis, Missouri. 

Even with such a full career, Johnson is a family man. He has been married five times, twice to fellow actor and mother of Dakota Johnson, Melanie Griffith. The two were married and divorced in 1976 and then married again in 1989. They divorced again in 1996. According to Vice, Johnson’s first two marriages were annulled soon after the weddings. The names of the women are not public information.

Kelley Phleger, Don Johnson (2018), (Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images)

In 1999, Johnson married socialite and teacher, Kelley Phleger. The couple met in San Francisco at a birthday party for the mayor, Willie Brown. At the time, Johnson was still on the show “Nash Bridges” which takes place in San Francisco. Closer Weekly reports that Johnson said of his wife, “This statuesque brunette was clearly a woman of substance. I made it my business to meet her.”

Johnson and Phleger have three children together. Their daughter, Grace Johnson was born in 1999, the same year the couple was married. Their son Jasper Johnson was born a few years later in 2002. Deacon Johnson, their youngest son, was born in 2006. Closer Weekly also reported that Johnson said his family is the reason he stopped using drugs. 

He said in the same interview, “I’d been out for a weekend’s foray into the world of hanging out with my buddies and running wild. I walked in and there was this wonderful little scene of Madonna and child at the breakfast table. And that’s when it hit me.” 

Also, an insider exclusively told Closer Weekly in November 2019, “He’s a doting, involved dad with the younger three. And nothing makes him happier than when his whole brood is together.” It is clear that his family is incredibly important to him. 

Johnson told Closer Weekly in the same interview, “I do what I can to make sure young people understand that drugs can destroy their lives. I don’t have any vices…except my children.” It is admirable to see someone turn their life around for their loved ones.

In 1981, Johnson entered a long-term relationship with actress and model, Patti D’Arbanville which lasted until 1985. During that time, the two had a son, Jesse Johnson. Jesse is an actor like his father and had his debut role playing Dylan Bridges on “Nash Bridges,” alongside his father. 

Don Johnson (2020), (Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty images)

Jesse was born in Los Angeles in 1982 making him Johnson’s oldest child. Jesse’s parents separated when he was 3-years-old and he was raised in Aspen, Colorado. He has seven siblings total. He graduated from Occidental College with a Bachelor’s degree in theater in 2004. 

Jesse made his film debut in the feature film “Redline” portraying the role of Jason. The film was released in 2007 and also stars Eddie Griffin and Nathan Phillips. It debuted at number eleven at the U.S. box office and made a total of $6.8 million worldwide.

The Hollywood Reporter claimed that there will be a revival of “Nash Bridges” in the form of a two-hour special that will air on the USA Network. Johnson has already confirmed that he will be reprising his role in the special. It would be great if we got the chance to see Jesse act with his father again.

In a photo posted to Jesse’s Instagram account, he looks like the mirror image of his father when he was the same age. Even his sister, Grace, commented on the photo saying “Wow you look exactly like dad right here.” The resemblance is striking and had other commenters wondering if Jesse will ever reprise his father’s role in a “Miami Vice” reboot. 

Jesse’s Instagram also clues us in to what he enjoys outside of acting. Most of his recent photos show him outside in a gorgeous winter landscape snowboarding with friends. He also seems to enjoy hiking in the mountains based on the fantastic photos he posts. He appears to love the outdoors and staying active.  

Jesse Johnson(2017), (David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images)

Johnson has had a wonderful career and has an even more wonderful family. Have you seen any of his films or TV shows? Would you like to see him work more with his son Jesse? Let us know your thoughts, and don’t forget to show this to your friends and family. 

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