Sins, excesses and rebirth of Don Johnson, the man who did not expect to be alive at 30

Don JohnsonPhoto: Phil McCarten

Almost four decades have passed but if we refer to the contents of the 80s, we will automatically mention one of the most acclaimed series of the time: Miami Division. We are talking about a product of those that had a great impact at the time -in this case from 1984 to 1989- but much more when the years go by and they settle until they become a cult production. The myth grew so much that, without going any further, in 1990 and as a kind of “at the request of the public”, some sporadic chapters were reissued, which became the kick of repetitions around the world throughout that decade.

Why was it a success? He had it all: he was a policeman who followed the adventures of detectives James ‘Sony’ Crockett (interpreted by don johnson) Y Ricardo ‘Rico’ Tubbs (in charge of Philip Michael Thomas), who worked undercover fighting drug trafficking, toured the city in sports cars and were obviously the typical eighties gallants, with their tailored suits, half-open shirts and a certain glamorous touch in their walk.

One of its particularities, in addition to renowned actors, is that there, to tell the story, music began to be mixed with visual effects. The great novelty of that decade. Those were times when the police were the most used theme, as a kind of mold that was copied, but with this product that structure was broken and took on a life of its own: the media spoke of a new way of doing police.

One of the big winners in this series was Don Johnsonwho was able to position himself in acting but above all, in his role as a rebellious heartthrob. His jacket rolled up at the sleeves and his tanned skin became his trademarkbut his life story and everything he faced since he met fame put him in a bittersweet place. On the one hand, the recognition that he gave to the performance -and continues to give it at 72 years old-, and on the other, the course that would come.

Don Johnson, the rebel heartthrob
Don Johnson, the rebel heartthrob

The excesses that took over the best years of this icon are taken in a separate paragraph. Even so, he was able to resurface. To that can be added issues related to love. cybill shepherd, umma thurman, Barbara Streisand, patti d’arbanville Y Melanie Griffithgreat figures of Hollywood history, were his partners. However, and beyond the fact that he had five children, family projects were never on his list of priorities. Something always came up that took him the other way. Even so, with each of his ex-partners he managed to maintain a good relationship, like the one he has with his children.

Johnson was born on December 15, 1949 in Flat Creek, a small town in Missouri, United States. The first years of his life were linked to sports, but from one moment to the next everything changed, curiously at age 12, when he spent a couple of hours in prison. The reason? With his group of friends, after school, they would go out to steal cars. That was the beginning of a chaotic life, full of dark moments.

Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas at Division Miami (Photo: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas at Division Miami (Photo: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

Johnson himself decided to speak on the subject a decade ago when he sought to free himself, but also to leave a message, knowing that many adolescents – through their parents – also follow him. “He had all the pool numbers: abuse, divorce (from my parents) before I turned 12 and on top of that, he was the oldest of the brothers”he told The Guardian.

When her parents met they were just teenagers. They grew as they could, and in the middle, he was born. his dad, freddy johnsonhe was a farmer. He worked all day and hardly saw his children. His mom, eve wilsonHe worked as a stylist and also spent a lot of time outside, so the minors grew up alone or going from one house to another of relatives. The artist himself remarked that there were no limits and that they did what they wanted, without anyone watching them.

Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith (Photo: Frank Edwards/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith (Photo: Frank Edwards/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Failing that, the decisions of the adults were made by him, already from pre-adolescence. “It was a very sad childhood. And when you leave home at 16 and without plansand you have to defend yourself even at school, that forges your character, “said Don, adding that at that time, when he turned 12, he made his sexual debut with his 17-year-old nanny. Even so, without anyone’s support, He joined a theater school where from the first minute, without any experience, he showed his qualities. In addition -said by him- he always had teachers and was treated as a sexual object, so in the beginning it was not difficult for him to join casts.

At the age of 22, he had his first significant role when he was called to The Harrad experiment. Over there met Melanie Griffith, who was 14. It was a controversial romance. They went to live together, since she had a similar life story, so she did not hesitate to leave her house and join the actor. In January 1977, when Melanie turned 18, the first thing they did was get married. That happiness was cut short a month later, when Don’s friend was murdered. The actor entered a great depression and once again, darkness.

Don Johnson with Melanie Griffith and their children, Jesse Johnson and Dakota Johnson (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Don Johnson with Melanie Griffith and their children, Jesse Johnson and Dakota Johnson (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

This affected his relationship with Griffith, from whom he separated 11 months after being married.. Those were times when the night, alcohol and drugs became his allies. Because of what he represented for the industry, because of the champion’s friends who were not lacking, he entered a cruel world, which had him all the time on the edge of the precipice. “When he was a young kid in Hollywood, drugs, alcohol and parties were everywhere and it was hard to get away from it. It did not immediately become a problem, it takes a while, but it leads you to make bad decisions, ”he commented in 2017 in daily mail.

The bad trip through the dark zone was not free and was reflected in his work, since after A boy and his dog (1975) he would hardly appear in any production again until 1984, when he shone in Miami Division. Before he was hired he went through Alcoholics Anonymous. His removal from the screen had had to do with that, with tending to his health. When the police series was presented, he said that he had not consumed a drop of alcohol for a year. While success sheltered him and the product was reproduced in more than 130 countries, Don Johnson would once again kiss the canvas.

Don Johnson today, at age 72
Don Johnson today, at age 72

It happened that all those vices that he had left behind, returned. What was your environment? “Politicians, senators, police officers, and the prettiest prostitutes on the market. Everyone was on my side and I I moved freely, even with drugs in my pocket. I had a free pass everywhere”, he recalled and made it clear that his path to the depths was already predestined. But he once again brought out his willpower and succeeded: he understood that he had to change course or the end would be near him.

So it was that he entered the detox clinic Betty Fordin Los Angeles. Today it is far from excesses, but He relived what he suffered two decades later, since the same situation was reflected in Dakota, his daughter, who in 2007 entered a rehabilitation center to face her drug addiction problems. Unlike what happened to his own parents, who were not by his side, Don Johnson assured that he was with his daughter, trying to collaborate in her healing.

Don Johnson today
Don Johnson today

As for the present, the actor -who entered the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996- finds him working. In 2019 he starred knives out and since last year is leading the series Kenan. Everything is profit and that can be seen represented in one of his most resonant phrases: “I did not expect to live until I was 30, so everything has gone great. I think I speak for all actors when I say that when you finish a job you almost always think: ‘Well, that’s it. I will never work again.’ So every day is Christmas for actors,” says Don Johnson, the man who lived too long. In every sense.

KEEP READING:

Baby Boom in entertainment: new mothers, expanding families and long searches that end with a happy ending
The moving song of Chano Charpentier, after his hospitalization: the mention of his mother and the references to “what he suffered”
She left her life in Japan to sing tango in Argentina: Kaori Orita, the jury of Canta Conmigo Ahora

Leave a Comment