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Johnson, Stephen R. (July 12, 1952-January 26, 2015)



  • Existence: July 12, 1952 - January 26, 2015


Stephen R. Johnson was born July 12, 1952, in Paola, Kansas. He attended Kansas University before going to film school at the University of Southern California, where he received awards and accolades for his stop-motion animation. His career began with the music video he directed for Combonation’s “Girls Like You,” featuring Robin Wright. He is most well-known for directing the music video for Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” (for which he won a record nine MTV Video Music Awards), along with the first series of the surreal children’s program Pee-wee’s Playhouse (for which he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award). He directed other music videos, like Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time,” Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere,” and Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life.” He directed commercials for Lifesavers, Riunite, and Kool-Aid, among others, and he was a co-creator of the acclaimed short film Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Amnesty International. Johnson died at the age of 62 on January 26, 2015, in Fort Scott, Kansas, from cardiac complications.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Stephen R. Johnson Collection

Identifier: MS-0341
Scope and Contents The Stephen R. Johnson Collection was gifted to the UMKC University Libraries by Debra F. Johnson and Russell Johnson in March 2016.Housed in LaBudde Special Collections, the manuscript collection contains a diverse assortment of materials from the music video and television director, animator, painter, and writer’s personal and professional life. There are awards and accolades, storyboards and screenplays, and newspaper clippings about Johnson’s work. There are photographs of...
Dates: 1890 - 2012