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.