Who is professor Gary Johnson on whose real life story Hit Man is based on, bio, age, wife and cause of death

Who is professor Gary Johnson on whose real life story Hit Man is based on, bio, age, wife and cause of death

Ever since Netflix released their action-comedy titled “Hit Man”, viewers have been curious behind the identity of Gary Johnson, the real person who inspired Glen Powell’s character in the movie, find out more about him below and his wife in real life

The movie managed to top Netflix’s film charts just days after its release with its unique plot and real-life ties.

Who is college professor Gary Johnson on whose real life story Hit Man is based on, bio, age, wife and cause of death

During his time as an undercover agent, Johnson used various aliases like Mike Caine, Jody Eagle, and Chris Buck.

Gary Johnson bio

Gary Johnson was a college professor who worked undercover with the police, aiding them in sting operations. He was born in 1947 and died before Hit Man started filming in 2022. There are no reports detailing his exact cause of death. According to Hit Man’s final title card, Johnson was the “chillest dude imaginable,”  loved animals, and was a Vietnam War veteran. Johnson also reportedly practiced Buddhism.


The real-life Johnson taught human s*xuality and psychology in Texas and worked alongside local law enforcement in Houston. Johnson was married and divorced three times, and his second wife, Sunny, described him as a “loner.”.

Hit Man

“Hit Man” is an action-comedy movie released in 2023 and directed by School of Rock’s Richard Linklater. The movie tells the story of Gary Johnson (played by Glen Powell), who is a philosophy professor who begins working for the police by posing as an assassin-for-hire in sting operations. The film tells a “somewhat true story” of the undercover police contractor’s life.

In the film, Johnson works as a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of New Orleans. He is depicted as a nerdy bird-watching watching-enthusiast with a “forgettable face”, which makes it easy for him to transition into a hitman. However, things take a turn when a woman named Maddy Masters (Adria Arjona) hires Johnson to kill her abusive husband, Ray (Evan Holtzman).


Johnson develops a liking for Masters and instead of soliciting a confession, he tells her to use the money meant for killing Ray and start a new life instead. However, Johnson and Masters end up getting close, sleeping together, and eventually starting a relationship. Meanwhile, Master’s ex comes in search of them for revenge.

Differences between the real-life Gary Johnson and Powell’s character

The real-life Gary Johnson never slept with his victims. However, during his operations, he met a woman who was the victim of abuse in real life. Notably, Johnson stopped her from employing him and instead got her help against her abusive boyfriend.


Moreover, in the movie “Hit Man”, two murders take place. While Masters kills her ex-husband Ray, Johnson kills a policeman who finds out about the crime and threatens the couple in exchange for a million dollars. However, in real life, Johnson never resorted to killing anyone.

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