For many actors, typecasting is a massive fear they spend entire careers battling. Sean Connery fought to be someone other than James Bond, Daniel Radcliffe is still fighting to be someone other than Harry Potter, and Steven Seagal is…no, actually, he seems pretty happy to just play Steven Seagal.
My point is typecasting is a big deal to a lot of movie stars, but for others it turns out to be a blessing. Take Reginald VelJohnson. He landed a role in what turned out to be the greatest action movie ever made, Die Hard, as LAPD Sgt. Al Powell, then successfully transitioned into playing a cop again on the small screen as Carl Winslow in Family Matters. He hasn’t always played cops, wearing a badge in two hit action movies and nine seasons of hit TV means that, to this day, he gets a lot of offers to keep playing cops and even gets mistaken for a real officer from time to time.
So, how does VelJohnson feel about this? Well, The Hollywood Reporter asked him, and his answer was basically: Hey, as long as the check clears, baby.
“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.”
In fact, VelJohnson is so game to keep putting on the badge that he’d even be willing to pop up in another Die Hard sequel, if Bruce Willis will have him.
“How many times can this guy get into trouble and then get out of it on his own?” he says. “So it would have to be something unique. Maybe you could have John McClane fighting zombies, that could work.”
Reginald VelJohnson: The Most Dedicated Movie Cop on the Beat.