Daryl K. Johnson
By Beth Volpert
Coming home was always something to look forward to in the Johnson household. It was a pleasant place with lots of love and solid parents. The Johnson home was always the sort of place where a kid knew that his parents meant it when they said, “You can be anything you want to be, you just have to workhard.” Growing up in that kind of environment gave Daryl K. Johnson enough courage to follow his dream to become an actor.
As a kid, Daryl was big into competitive sports and physical fitness. He carried his commitment to fitness into his adult life. “As an actor, your body is your vessel,” says Daryl. “It is the tool set you have to work with.” Daryl says that in order to have balance in a busy acting career and with life in general, it is very important to maintain great health. Part of his balancing act includes getting closer to his family and exploring more of what Georgia has to offer as more film studios continue to expand in the state.
Daryl grew up in California, but his parents, L.C. and Gracie, have settled in Peachtree Corners making a move to Georgia even more attractive. “The way my parents raised me gave me great confidence,” says Daryl. “Dad has innate life skills that are hard to miss and my mom is more subtle in her manner of engaging people; she has never met a stranger.” Daryl gives credit to the pair for helping him reach his goals by being great examples. Exploring acting options closer to home is a part of a plan to promote those goals.
Some of Daryl’s acting aspirations include roles where he is the hero. “I like the idea of saving people and taking care of the villain,” says Daryl. His ideal “damsel in distress” would be Alicia Tyler although he admits that it would be awesome to work with Beyonce. His thoughts on the importance of family brought up the subject of who might be his “ideal” screen family. “I like the thought of Sidney Portier as my granddad,” says Daryl. “Who wouldn’t want Morgan Freeman to be your on-screen dad?” He stops to muse a bit about his mom and decides on Angela Bassett. “She is most like my mom and brings characters to life.”
An appreciation for film began early for Daryl. “With my dad being in the military, we watched a lot of war movies,” says Daryl. “I think the seeds of wanting to save people in the movies got planted early with the war movies and westerns that we watched.” When Daryl was old enough to go to the movie theater by himself, his mom would drop him off on a Saturday afternoon while she got her hair done. “I’d go from theater to theater to get a little of as many films in as possible,” says Daryl. “I was fascinated by the slasher/horror movies, but also loved the comedies.” When it came to the Freddy Krueger’s of the world, Daryl had to concede the fact that even the lowest budget films could really make an impression. “Freddy could get into your imagination, into your dreams,” says Daryl. “The fact that I was scared made up for any lack of substance.”
Using those early movies as fuel for an already active imagination, Daryl began dreaming about what could come of those seeds planted by his fascination with the big screen. Daryl finished high school with exemplary grades in advanced placement classes and lettered in three varsity sports with All American honors in two. He attended college at UC Santa Barbara on a track and field scholarship with a double major in African American Studies and Theatre. From there Daryl’s experiences were just beginning. He traveled Europe working as a model with such names as Hugo Boss, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. Upon returning to the US, Daryl began to focus on his acting career and had the opportunity to work with Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg and Samuel L. Jackson.
Movies, commercials, spokes-man, and model are all roles that Daryl has enjoyed, but some of his favorite moments come from his time as a role model. Book Pals is a foundation that is dear to Daryl’s heart. “Kids in the classroom get to vote on a book that I will read and then I get to read it aloud,” says Daryl. “I love to make the book come alive for them; to see it on their faces.”
In addition to his work with Book Pals, Daryl’s own company, Black Stone Productions is working on a documentary slated to air later in the year. “The general theme of the projects will focus on human challenges and overcoming them through positive mental, physical and emotional strength,” says Daryl. “Mind, body and soul.” Daryl’s dad, L.C., agrees with the philosophy. “His mom and I are proud of him no matter what he sets his mind to as long as it is beneficial to himself as well as others.” L.C. says he and Daryl talk frequently about opportunities and what is the best path to take for reaching goals. “He has both of our hearts and if he can reach his goals here in Georgia, all the better!”
Currently, Daryl is on tour as professional host with Lexus at auto trade shows that have taken him all around the country. “I will finish up in New York and then return to Atlanta for a while,” says Daryl. “I am really looking forward to it.” Just as important as the work is the chance to spend some quality time with two of his favorite characters. L.C. and Gracie are looking forward to having their son home for a while and maybe spoiling him a bit while Daryl explores the possibilities that the newest studios have to offer in Georgia.
To read more about Daryl and his projects: www.darylkeithjohnson.com