Family Matters Wiki

Judith Ann Johnson (born August 18, 1948) also known as Judyann Elder, is an American actress, director, and writer. She is a veteran of stage and screen who has appeared in scores of theatrical productions throughout the United States and Europe. She is best known for her roles on the popular television shows Murphy BrownMartin, and Family Matters.

Early life[]

Born in Cleveland, Elder is the daughter of Edward T. Johnson, PhD and Camille Russell Johnson. She attended Shaker Heights High School and graduated from Emerson College in Boston as the first recipient of the Carol Burnett Award in the Performing Arts.


It was in the 1991–92 season of TV’s Murphy Brown starring Candice Bergen, Elder made a mark portraying Murphy Brown’s obstetrician, Dr. Barton. Her recurring role culminated with the historic season finale where Dr. Barton delivered Murphy Brown's baby. She was cast as Gina's mother Nadine Water’s on Martin (1992–97) starring Martin Lawrence, then in 1998 she replaced Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow in the last several episodes of the popular show Family Matters.

Personal Life[]

Elder has only three children (David, Christian and Loni); a breast cancer survivor; and former legislative ambassador for the American Cancer Society. She resides in Los Angeles, California with her second husband actor, John Cothran Jr.


While well-received for her overall acting performance, many felt she lacked the assertive and attitude that Jo Marie Payton brought to the role. Her overall chemistry with the rest of the cast was also criticized.

Criticism was also thrown at the writers, as many fans and critics felt that the characters personality was altered completely upon Elder taking over the role.