Reginald VelJohnson: ‘As Long As They Are Paying Me, I Will Play a Cop Until the Day I Die’

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

You might recognize Reginald VelJohnson as Sergeant Al Powell, the police officer who helped Bruce Willis Die Hard; or, equally likely, from his turn as head of the family (and a cop) on Family Matters; or possibly you saw him as detective David Sutton on Turner & Hooch; or perhaps his guest appearance as Sergeant Powell on Chuck; or his brief stint as a cop in Ghostbusters. Point is, VelJohnson has a type. And as he told The Hollywood Reporter, he doesn't mind playing it. "I don't know what it is about me and this cop thing, but I get a lot of cop offers," the 63-year-old says with a chuckle. "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."

Over the course of his interview with THR, VelJohnson also revealed some insight into what it's like to build a career around playing cops. He said that his cameo in Ghostbusters came as a gift from director Ivan Reitman after he lost out on the role of Winston to Ernie Hudson, and that his screentime in Die Hard 2 was cut back due to his commitment to Family Matters. Of course, that's not to say that VelJohnson holds his time on the show against anyone. "There was always a subtle message or something of value that you could come away with," VelJohnson said. "I do miss those days of family entertainment when everyone could watch."

VelJohnson's unsure whether people want a reboot of the show (is that the sound of Netflix's Family Matters More humming in the distance?). But he admitted that he's open to the possibility. He'd also be open to the possibility of returning for another Die Hard, with the right script: "It would have to be something unique. Maybe you could have John McClane fighting zombies, that could work."

Basically, if you'd like to pay Reginald VelJohnson for an acting gig — any gig, but especially a cop gig — he'll hear you out.