Vernee Watson-Johnson

  (Redirected from Vernee Watson)

Vernee Christell Watson-Johnson (née Watson; born September 28, 1949) is an American actress, author, voice artist, and acting coach. Watson-Johnson is best known for her recurring roles as Vernajean Williams on Welcome Back, Kotter (1975–1979) and as Viola "Vy" Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990–1996), playing the mother of Will Smith's character.[5] She also voiced Dee Dee on Hanna-Barbera's animated series Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. She also appeared in an NCIS episode (Season 14, Episode 2: "Being Bad").

Vernee Watson-Johnson
Vernee Christell Watson

(1949-09-28) September 28, 1949 (age 71)[1][2][3][4]
  • Actress
  • author
  • voice artist
  • acting coach
Years active1970–present
Known forVernajean Williams – Welcome Back, Kotter
Viola "Vy" Smith – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Joe Duckett
(m. 1976; div. 1977)
Van Johnson
(m. 1979; div. 1991)

Early lifeEdit

Watson-Johnson was born and raised in New York City.[3] She graduated from Cathedral High School and New York University with a major in drama.[3] She began her professional career at age 17 with the Al Fann Theatrical Ensemble in Manhattan and would tour with the group for 5 years.[3]


Watson-Johnson played Blue's love interest in the 1972 film Trick Baby. She was also a regular cast member of the 1985–1986 situation comedy Foley Square as Denise Willums, the secretary for Alex Harrigan, played by the show's star, Margaret Colin. She played a small role on Sister, Sister as Lisa's (Jackée Harry) best friend Patrice, and as the mayor's secretary, Lucille Banks, on Carter Country. She also had a recurring role as "Birdie" on The Young and the Restless. In 2005, she appeared in the film Christmas with the Kranks. In addition, Watson-Johnson has made appearances in episodes of television shows as The Love Boat, Hill Street Blues, Married... with Children, L.A. Law, Suddenly Susan, Dharma & Greg, The X-Files, ER, Days of Our Lives, Malcolm in the Middle, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Desperate Housewives, Ghost Whisperer, Benson, The Big Bang Theory, Good Times, Dexter, Two and a Half Men, Southland, Criminal Minds, A.N.T. Farm, What's Happening!!, Young Sheldon, Jessie, Mike and Molly, and several other series.[6]

As a voice actress, she has been tied to Hanna-Barbera Productions and Warner Bros. Animation with roles in shows such as Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, Laff-A-Lympics, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Animaniacs, Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, as well as the feature film The Ant Bully, and several video games related to these productions.[7] From 1991 to 1992, she lent her voice to the show Baby Talk, where she was the voice of baby Danielle (played by Alicia and Celicia Johnson). In 2006, Watson-Johnson had roles in three films: The Ant Bully, The Celestine Prophecy and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties.[6] In 2017, Watson-Johnson was cast as Stella Henry on the soap opera General Hospital, aunt of Donnell Turner's character Curtis Ashford.[8][9] She won two Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Guest Performer in a Drama Series for the role in 2018 and 2019.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Watson-Johnson has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Joe Duckett from 1976 until 1977, and was last married to photographer Van Johnson from 1979 to 1991. Watson-Johnson has a daughter named Sunde Jinia Johnson (b. 1983) and a son named Josh with Johnson.[11] In 2005, Watson-Johnson was a witness in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial.[12][13]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1970 Cotton Comes to Harlem Woman [14][15]
1972 Trick Baby Cleo Howard
1976 Norman... Is That You? Melody Credited as Vernée Watson
1978 Death Drug Carolyn Thomas
1981 All Night Long Emily Credited as Vernee Watson
1987 G.I. Joe: The Movie Scientist (voice)
1991 Showdown in Little Tokyo Nonnie Russell - Coroner
1991 Hell Hath No Fury Tyleen TV Movie
1993 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Additional Voices
2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Ms. Joyce Carr (voice) Direct-to-Video
2002 Antwone Fisher Annette Elkins
2004 Christmas with the Kranks Dox
2005 The Legend of Frosty the Snowman Mrs. Wader (voice) Direct-to-Video
2006 The Ant Bully Head Nurse (voice)
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Tourist #2 Credited as Vernée Watson Johnson
2018 Home by Spring Mrs. Wilson TV Movie
2019 Clemency Mrs. Collins
2019 The Mandela Effect Nadine


Episode: The Hunter Hunted
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1975–1976 Welcome Back, Kotter Verna Jean Williams 13 episodes
1977 Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics Dee Dee Skyes (voice) Unknown episode/s
1977 What's Happening!! Judy Crane Episode: "Nice Guys Finish Last"
1977 Good Times Valerie Episode: "Thelma's African Romance (Part 1)"
1977–1979 Carter Country Lucille Banks 44 episodes
1977–1980 Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels Dee Dee Skyes (voice) Main [16]
1978–1984 The Love Boat Various 4 episodes
1979 The World's Greatest Super Friends University Scientist (voice) Episode: "Universe of Evil"


1979–1981 Fantasy Island Various 3 episodes
1981 The Jeffersons Carol Episode: "I've Still Got It"
1985–1986 Foley Square Denise Willums 14 episodes
1990–1996 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Viola "Vy" Smith 15 episodes
1991–1992 Baby Talk Baby Danielle Craig (voice) 20 episodes
1993 Batman: The Animated Series Dana Blessing / Doctor (voice) 2 Episodes
1993–1994 Grace Under Fire Vicki Hudson 2 Episodes
1994-1996 Animaniacs Mrs. Jenny / Oprah Winfrey / Robin (voice) 2 Episodes
1996 Superman: The Animated Series Female Neighbor / Female Worker / Councilwoman (voice) 2 Episodes
1996–1997 Sister, Sister Patrice 5 episodes
1999 The Young and the Restless Birdie 19 episodes
2002 The West Wing Nurse Episode: "Twenty Five"
2002 The X-Files Nurse Whitney Edwards Episode: "Audrey Pauley"
2004–2012 Two and a Half Men Nurse 2 episodes
2006 Dexter Doakes' Mother Episode: "Return to Sender"
2006 Desperate Housewives ER Doctor Episode: "Listen to the Rain on the Roof"
2006 Ghost Whisperer Traci Cotter Episode: Giving up the Ghost
2007 Days of Our Lives Dr. Ella Kraft 9 episodes
2007–2016 The Big Bang Theory Nurse Althea 6 episodes
2009 Criminal Minds Miss Hightower Episode: To Hell... And Back
2010 House Nurse Smits 2 episodes
2010 Melissa & Joey Miss Lunt Episode: "Pilot"
2011 Good Luck Charlie Principal Hibbert Episode: "Teddy's Bear"
2011 Castle Mercy Episode: "Demons"
2013 Mr. Box Office Mrs. Owens Episode: "Holy Matriphony"
2013 A.N.T Farm Granny Episode: "early retiremANT"
2014 Jessie Mrs. Harris Episode: "From the White House to Our House"
2015 Two and a Half Men Karen Episode: "Boompa Loved His Hookers"
2016 School of Rock Mrs. Calpakis 2 episodes
2016 NCIS Miss Helen Frimkes Episode: "Being Bad"
2016 Mike & Molly Blanche Episode: "I See Love"
2017–present General Hospital Stella Henry Recurring [8][9]
2017–2019 Young Sheldon Nurse Robinson Guest
Credited as Vernee Watson
2 episodes
2018 The Resident Mary Phillips Episode: "The Elopement"
2019–present Bob Hearts Abishola Gloria Main role
Credited as Vernee Watson

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role
2003 True Crime: Streets of LA Dispatcher
2004 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Pedestrian
2006 The Ant Bully Head Nurse
2020 Mafia: Definitive Edition Additional Voices

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Title Result Ref.
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series General Hospital Won
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series General Hospital Won


  1. ^ Company, Johnson Publishing (1982). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Happy Birthday To Vernee Watson!". Soap Opera Digest. 28 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "TV's Vernee Watson does some theater". The Daily American. 27 August 1979. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  4. ^ Bolden, Bonnie (7 January 1977). "Television Actress Claims Raleigh County Roots". Beckley Post-Herald. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  5. ^ Fearn-Banks, Kathleen; Burford-Johnson, Anne (October 3, 2014). "Watson, Vernee (1954-)". Historical Dictionary of African American Television. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 502. ISBN 978-0810879171.
  6. ^ a b "Vernee Watson-Johnson profile". Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  7. ^ "Vernee Watson-Johnson voiceography". Voice Chasers. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "General Hospital: Comings & Goings". Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Eades, Chris (June 7, 2017). "Stella on GENERAL HOSPITAL — Meet Vernee Watson!". ABC Soaps In Depth. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  10. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (April 29, 2018). "Daytime Emmy Awards Complete Winners List: Days Of Our Lives, The Talk, GMA Among Honorees". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  11. ^ "Actress Vernee Watson Has First Child, Girl, 6 1/2 Lbs". Jet. 64 (9): 62. May 9, 1983. ISSN 0021-5996.
  12. ^ "Jackson's Cousin Testifies". The New York Times. May 19, 2005. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  13. ^ "Michael Jackson Trial Continues". Life. United States. May 18, 2005. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  14. ^ "Cotton Comes to Harlem". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  15. ^ Himes, Chester (August 3, 2011). Cotton comes to Harlem. New York City: Knopf Doubleday. ISBN 978-0307803245.
  16. ^ "Vernee Watson Johnson". Behind the Voice Actors. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  17. ^ "CBS Fall 2019-20 Schedule: Some Diverse Moves For The Most-Watched Network, But Lots Of Familiar Faces". Deadline. May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  18. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (April 29, 2018). "Daytime Emmys: The Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. New York City: Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on May 2, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  19. ^ "The 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Award Winners" (PDF). Los Angeles: and National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. May 5, 2019. Retrieved May 9, 2019.

External linksEdit