Don Johnson, right, and Kelley Phleger arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of
Don Johnson, right, and Kelley Phleger arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Hateful Eight" at the Cinerama Dome in 2015. Chris Pizzello

Famous Birthdays this week: Don Johnson

Don Johnson

15/12/1949 - Current (68 years old).

"I do what I can to make young people understand that drugs can destroy their lives. I'm the perfect example of what people can accomplish when they have regained a sane body and spirit."

1949: Donald Wayne 'Don' Johnson was born on December 15 in Flat Creek, Missouri. He is an American actor, producer, director, singer, and songwriter. His mother, Nell (née Wilson), was a beautician, and his father, Wayne Fred Johnson, was a farmer. At the time of his birth, they were 19 and 17, respectively. At age 6, he moved from Missouri to Wichita, Kansas.

1967: He graduated from Wichita South High School, he was involved in the high school's theatre program. As a senior, he played the lead role of Tony in West Side Story. His biography noted that he had previously appeared in "Burnt Cork and Melody" and "The Hullabaloo." He also attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

1969: He was a student at the American Conservatory theatre before earning his first acting role in a stage production.

1972: During the first half of this year, he met Melanie Griffith, the 14-year-old daughter of his Harrad Experiment co-star Tippi Hedren. When Griffith was 15, she and Johnson began living together. On her 18th birthday they became engaged, and were married in January 1976; they filed for divorce that July.


Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson at the APLA benefit in 1990.
Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson at the APLA benefit in 1990. Alan Light

1980: He dated Sally Adams, who had been Telly Savalas's partner, and used the name Sally Savalas, mother of actress Nicollette Sheridan. Cybill Shepherd has written of a liaison with Johnson in her autobiography.

1981: Johnson lived with actress Patti D'Arbanville from 1981 to 1985. The couple has a son, Jesse Wayne Johnson (born December 7, 1982).

1986: Johnson next had a relationship with Barbra Streisand, lasting into at least September 1988.

1984-1989: He played the role of undercover police detective James "Sonny" Crockett in the television series Miami Vice and he won a Golden Globe for this role. His white suit is iconic.

1986: Johnson released two albums of pop music in the 1980s, one this year and the other in 1989. His single "Heartbeat" reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It was the title track from his first album, and was a collaboration with Robert Tepper.

1988: He was the American Power Boat Association's World Champion of the Offshore World Cup.

1989: Johnson and Griffith reunited and conceived a daughter close to the start of 1989, Dakota Johnson (born October 4, 1989) and were married again from that year until 1996.

1996: Johnson was briefly engaged to Jodi Lyn O'Keefe who played his daughter on Nash Bridges. Johnson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1996-2001: Johnson played the title role of Nash Bridges, an inspector (later promoted to captain) for the San Francisco Police Department. In Nash Bridges Johnson was again paired with a flashy convertible car, this time a Curious Yellow 1971 Plymouth Barracuda.

1999: He married his second wife, Kelly Phleger, on April 29, a San Francisco socialite and Montessori nursery school teacher. The couple has three children: Grace, Jasper and Deacon.

2005: He briefly starred in The WB courtroom television drama show Just Legalas a jaded lawyer with a very young and idealistic protege partner (Jay Baruchel); the show was cancelled in October 2005 after just three of the eight produced episodes aired.

2007: In January of this year, Johnson began a run in the West End of London production of Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit.

2008: In May, Johnson came within hours of losing his Woody Creek, Colorado home to foreclosure; he paid off his $14.5 million debts less than 24 hours before a scheduled auction of the property.

2010: Johnson and Jon Heder co-hosted WWE's Raw on January 18. He had a supporting role in Robert Rodriguez's film Machete. Johnson played Von Jackson, "a twisted border vigilante leading a small army." The film was released on September 3. In October of this year, he began appearing on the HBO series Eastbound & Down, playing Kenny Powers' long-lost father, going by the alias "Eduardo Sanchez". He also reprised his role as Sonny Crockett for a Nike commercial with LeBron James where the NBA player contemplates acting and appears alongside Johnson on Miami Vice.

2011: In September, Johnson had a cameo in the comedy A Good Old Fashioned Orgy with Jason Sudeikis.

2012: Johnson had a supporting role in the Quentin Tarantino film, Django Unchained, playing a southern plantation owner named Spencer 'Big Daddy' Bennett.

2014: He had a supporting role in the romantic comedy The Other Woman.

2015: Johnson began starring in the ABC prime time soap opera Blood & Oil.

2016: Television: Tank Johnny Bahama (voice) 1 episode.

2017: Television: A Series of Unfortunate Events as Sir 2 episodes and Sick Note as Kenny West. Movies: Vengeance: A Love Story as Jay Kirkpatrick and Brawl in Cell Block 99 as Warden Tuggs.

2018: Upcoming movies: Book Club in Post-production.


Johnson has had four wives in five marriages, three of which were brief. His first two marriages were annulled within a matter of days. The names of Johnson's first two wives have not been made public.

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