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Clark Johnson

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Clark Johnson


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September 10, 1954 (age 69) (

Heather Salmon (m. 1994–1998)

Michaela Johnson, Casandra Johnson

Molly Johnson, Taborah Johnson

Otis Johnson, Henry Johnson

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Matt Malloy, David Simon, Reg E Cathey, Samuel L Jackson, Molly Johnson

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The Wire's Clark Johnson on QTV

Clark Johnson (born September 10, 1954), sometimes credited as Clark "Slappy" Jackson, Clarque Johnson, and J. Clark Johnson, is an American actor and director who has worked in both television and film.


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Early years

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Johnson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The family eventually moved to Canada. He attended Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. He has three siblings including jazz singer Molly Johnson and actress and singer Taborah Johnson.

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Johnson attended Eastern Michigan University on a partial athletic scholarship for football, but he was expelled after he was caught stealing turkey frankfurters from the school cafeteria. He attended several other universities including Loyola and the University of Ottawa before ending up at the Ontario College of Art as a film major.


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Johnson was drafted by the Canadian Football League.

Johnson started in film doing special effects, including David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone. This behind-the-scenes work often served as a "backup" for him during the early stages of his acting career.

He began performing in feature films in 1981, landing roles in the films Killing 'em Softly, Colors, Wild Thing, Adventures in Babysitting, and Nowhere to Hide. He also acted in a number of television shows early in his career, including The Littlest Hobo, Night Heat, Hot Shots and E.N.G.

Homicide: Life on the Street

In 1993, Johnson became part of the original cast of the television series Homicide: Life on the Street playing Detective Meldrick Lewis for all seven seasons and the reunion movie, as well as directing several episodes. Johnson regularly improvised during filming and made up his own jokes and dialogue; writer and producer James Yoshimura called Clark the "king of the ad lib". Though the ensemble nature of the show meant that Johnson always filled an important role in the series, he became an even larger presence after his character was paired with a new partner, Mike Kellerman (played by Reed Diamond). The two detectives became the central figures in a plot line surrounding a Baltimore drug lord whose financial resources and front as a devoted community servant made it nearly impossible for the police department to bring him up on charges. Johnson made the transition to director with the season four episode "Map of the Heart". He also directed "Betrayal", "Valentine's Day", "Full Court Press" and "The Twenty Percent Solution". David Simon, the author of the non-fiction book Homicide was based upon, as well as a writer and producer for the series, commented that the transition from actor to director was made easy by Johnson's familiarity with the show and that he was one of the better directors in terms of keeping the tone of the show consistent. In 2013, Johnson made a brief cameo as Lewis in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Wonderland Story" when the squad are at a retirement party for John Munch (Richard Belzer).

The Wire

Johnson worked on The Wire, reuniting with writer David Simon. Johnson directed the pilot episode "The Target", second episode, fifth episode and series finale. He appeared as Gus Haynes, the fictional, principled city desk editor of the Baltimore Sun in the fifth and final season.

Alpha House

In 2013, Johnson starred as Sen. Robert Bettencourt (R-PA) in Amazon's Alpha House, a political comedy written by "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau. Along with John Goodman, Johnson plays one of four Republican senators living together in a house on Capitol Hill. Johnson also directed the season finale for the show's first season. Johnson has spent the summer of 2014 filming Season Two.


Johnson's other directing credits include the big-screen releases The Sentinel (2006) and S.W.A.T. (2003), and episodes of Third Watch as well as the HBO original production Boycott (2001), a project which he helmed and in which he also acted. He also directed the first episodes of Seasons 1 and 2 of the 2005 mini-series Sleeper Cell. He also directed the first and last episodes of The Shield, along with other episodes of that series.

Johnson directed the pilot episode of the FX drama Lights Out. The series stars The Wire cast members Pablo Schreiber and Reg E. Cathey and focuses on a retired heavyweight boxing champion.


  • Night Heat TV series as Jefferson (1985–1988)
  • Adventures in Babysitting (1987) as Black Gang Leader
  • Iron Eagle II (1988) as Graves
  • E.N.G. TV series as Clarke Roberts (1989–94)
  • Homicide: Life on the Street TV series as Meldrick Lewis (1993–99)
  • Drop Zone (1994) as Bob Covington
  • Final Round (1994) as Trevon
  • Soul Survivor as Busha (1995)
  • The Planet of Junior Brown (1997)
  • Homicide: The Movie as Meldrick Lewis (2000)
  • Love Come Down as Dean (2000)
  • The Wire TV series as Gus Haynes (2008)
  • Nurse.Fighter.Boy as Silence (2008)
  • The Shield TV series as Handsome Marshal, Episode 7.13 "Family Meeting" (2008)
  • Defendor as Captain Fairbanks (2009)
  • Unforgettable TV series as Clay Jacobs, Episode "Blind Alleys" (2012)
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit TV series as Meldrick Lewis, Episode 15x05 "Wonderland Story" (2013)
  • Alpha House TV series as Senator Robert Bettencourt (2013–2014)
  • Bird People (2014)
  • Hyena Road (2015)
  • Magnum Opus (completed) as Robert Cochran
  • Brawl in Cell Block 99 (post-production) as Detective Watkins
  • 222 (Short) (completed) as The King of Hearts
  • Director

  • Homicide: Life on the Street TV series (1996–98)
  • Episodes "Map of the Heart" (1996), "Betrayal" (1997), "Valentine's Day" (1997), "Full Court Press" (1998), "The Twenty Percent Solution" (1998)
  • Fast Track TV series (1997)
  • Welcome to Paradox TV series (1998)
  • La Femme Nikita TV series (1998)
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit TV series (1999)
  • Episode "Sophomore Jinx" (1999)
  • NYPD Blue TV series (2000)
  • Episode "Lucky Luciano" (2000)
  • The West Wing TV series (2000)
  • Episode "Six Meetings Before Lunch" (2000)
  • The Beat TV series (2000)
  • Third Watch TV series (2000)
  • Episode "Nature or Nurture?" (2000)
  • City of Angels TV series (2000)
  • The City TV series (2000)
  • Boycott (2001)
  • The Wire TV series (2002–08)
  • Episodes 1.01 "The Target", 1.02 "The Detail", 1.05 "The Pager" (2002); Episode 5.10 "–30–" (2008)
  • The Shield TV series (2002–08)
  • Episodes 1.01 "Pilot", 1.03 "The Spread", 1.05 "Blowback" (2002), 3.01 "Playing Tight", 3.02 "Blood and Water" (2004); 6.04 "The New Guy" (2007), 7.13 "Family Meeting" (2008)
  • S.W.A.T. (2003)
  • The Secret Service (2004)
  • The Jury (2004)
  • "Lamentation on the Reservation" (2004)
  • N.Y.-70 (2005)
  • Sleeper Cell TV series (2005–06)
  • Episode "Al-Faitha" (2005), "Al-Bagara" (2006)
  • The Sentinel (2006)
  • Memphis Beat TV series (2010–11)
  • Episode 1.01 "It's All Right Mama"
  • King TV series (2011)
  • Episodes 1.01 "Lori Gilbert", 1.02 "T-Bone"
  • Homeland TV series (2011)
  • Episodes 1.05 "Blind Spot", 1.11 "The Vest", 3.03 "Tower of David", 3.05 "The Yoga Play", 4.11 "Krieg Nicht Lieb"
  • The Walking Dead
  • Episode 2.08 "Nebraska"
  • Alpha House TV series (2013)
  • "In the Saddle" (2013)
  • Homeland (TV series) 2011-2014

  • Blind Spot (2011)
  • The Vest (2011)
  • Tower of David (2013)
  • The Yoga Play (2013)
  • Krieg Nicht Lieb (2014)
  • Black Sails (TV series) 2015

  • X (2015)
  • XII. (2015)
  • American Odyssey (TV series) 2015

  • Bug Out (2015)
  • Real World (2015)
  • Hell on Wheels (TV series) 2014-2015

  • Bear Man (2014)
  • Struck (2015)
  • Mad Dogs (U.S. TV series) 2016

  • Flares (2016)
  • Luke Cage (TV series) 2016

  • You Know My Steez (2016)
  • Shut Eye (TV series) 2016

  • The Tower - Reversed (2016)
  • Six (TV Mini-Series) 2017

  • Confession (2017)
  • Taken (TV series)

  • A Clockwork Swiss (2017)
  • Juanita 2017, pre-production


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