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Pop Culture | TV | 90s | 80s

Die Hard's Reginald VelJohnson Reveals How Al Powell Got Him Cast On Family Matters

20th Century Fox / ABC

Watching Die Hard is like watching a little piece of history. It truly has remained one of the greatest movies of all time no matter how much time passes.

Maybe we didn't know how special it was when we first saw it, but as the decades go on, it has become clear that it's a true classic that is basically required viewing for every single person.

Everyone obviously thinks of Bruce Willis when they think about Die Hard, which makes sense because he embodies John McClane in a way that makes him feel real, but he's not the only iconic actor to appear in the film.

Sergeant Al Powell may not have been up in the fight with McClane, but you know what, he was just as important to the story.

Powell is played by Reginald VelJohnson, who we now all remember fondly as Carl Winslow from Family Matters. It's almost hard to believe there was a time when VelJohnson wasn't a household name, but when he made Die Hard, no one knew who he was.

After appearing in a handful of other movies like Ghostbusters and Crocodile Dundee, the actor had yet to find his breakout role. But now he credits Die Hard as the movie that truly launched his career and led him to becoming one of America's favorite TV dads.

VelJohnson recently spoke with Today and revealed what it's like to be a part of such a huge movie.

He revealed the even though he didn't appear on camera with Willis all that much, whenever they shot their scenes, they actually were on the phone together.

"I was there for nine months," he explained. "But he was on the other end of the phone when we did our scenes where we had to talk to each other. Between scenes we'd stop and talk and found out a lot about each other. It was my first time on a major film, so whatever they wanted from me was just fine."

He also still gets teased over Powell's snack stash.

"People throw Twinkies in my supermarket cart," VelJohnson said.

But it was an early screening of the movie that landed him the role as Carl Winslow.

Producer of Family Matters, Thomas L. Miller, attended an early screening of the movie, and when he saw VelJohnson he knew he would be perfect for the role of Carl.

Even though he was a fairly unknown actor, he was offered the role based on this one performance. "So he asked me to be in it before the movie was even out. They asked me to do it, and the rest was history," VelJohnson shared.

Would he consider coming back?

VelJohnson has his own thoughts on what Powell would be up to now. "I'd like to think that Al would be a lieutenant at least. He couldn't be the same guy in uniform — he'd be too fat by now," VelJohnson said. "But I surely would do it!"

I think we can all agree that if they made another Die Hard movie, that we'd all like to check in with Al Powell and see how he's doing now!

Source - Today

Which of VelJohnson's famous characters do you like more, Carl Winslow or Al Powell?