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Sofcon 2000
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We Were Soldiers

On the set of SOF with Winter....
Montreal 1998

The fan's interview with Tim Abell / Benny Ray Riddle... 1998
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as of June 1997

Brad Johnson stars as Major Matthew Q. Shepherd, a retired major from the armed forces who runs a decrepit hotel in Venice Beach until he accepts an offer he can't refuse. He now leads an elite crime fighting unit with his expertise lying in motivating combat troops under fire and a mastery in the use of edged weapons.

The very rapid ascension of Brad Johnson to starring roles in major films by major filmmakers can be characterized in one word...belief.

The belief of such film world giants as Steven Spielberg, John Milius, Roger Corman and the bosses of Paramount Studios, established the ruggedly handsome Johnson's star presence within two years of his arrival in Hollywood.

The power of his presence can be measured, when Steven Spielberg teamed Johnson with Richard Dreyfus and Holly Hunter in "Always." It was also evident when John Milius selected Johnson to star with Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe in Paramount's "Flight of the Intruder."

Like some of the leading male stars of the past, Johnson's route to stardom was dramatic, circuitous, and somehow predestined. Born on a ranch near Tucson, Arizona, he followed in the footsteps of his cowboy father and joined the rodeo circuit while attending college on a baseball scholarship. He began rodeoing as a professional and very quickly rose to the top in 1984. Even then there were signs that a quick trek to acting was inevitable. A leading commercial director, watching him wrestling steers and tangling with broncos and brahma in Jackson, Wyoming, quickly spotted the same combination of strength, appearance and character which had brought Gary Cooper, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood to very special stardom. The rodeo star was signed to a Busch beer commercial. Another commercial director, catching the bone-crunching action of a Nevada rodeo, made the same discovery, Johnson became the Marlboro cigarette man.

These spots resulted in his quick selection for a number of Calvin Klein print ads and some noteworthy TV commercials which led him to Los Angeles and a shot at the acting career that so many of the commercial directors insisted was a natural for him. Within three months of his arrival and the start of acting studies, Johnson was discovered by the career-launching king of B movies, Roger Corman, and set to star in "Nam Angeles." Spielberg discovered him as well and cast Johnson in the coveted role of the flier who replaces Richard Dreyfus in Holly Hunter's affections in "Always."

The Spielberg film led Milius and Paramount to hurry him back into the pilot's seat to star in the jet fighter adventure, "Flight of the Intruder," a February, 1991 major release, and a film eerily reflective of the simultaneously occurring Mid-East crisis--even though the picture was completed before Sadam Hussein became a household word.

Johnson has also had a number of successful outings on television. His starring role as the title character in the CBS series, "Ned Blessing: The True Story of My Life," earned him the Western Heritage Award and an induction into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in March, 1994. The CBS telepic, "Cries Unheard" which paired him with Jaclyn Smith, garnered very high ratings as did "The Birds II" in which he starred for Showtime. In addition, Brad co-starred in the TNT mini-series, "Roughriders" with Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott, Illeana Douglas and Gary Busey which premiered summer 1997.

One thing Johnson learned as a top sports star and rodeo winner was the importance of self-belief. But, while possessing the confidence of the natural athlete, he is philosophical about it. "The difference between confidence and nothing to lose can be very thin," he reasons.

Recently, Johnson and his family moved from their small, scenic ranch in Texas to the Los Angeles area.

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