Johnson passed away at his home in Monterey, California on Sunday.
He won critical acclaim for his controversial U.S. television works, including 1970 series My Sweet Charlie, which explored interracial relationships, 1972's That Certain Summer, which took a look at homosexuality, and 1981 series Crisis at Central High, about America's civil rights movement.
He also directed episodes of Have Gun - Will Travel, Peter Gunn, The Twilight Zone, Naked City and The Defenders, in addition to helming films including 1973's The Last American Hero, starring Jeff Bridges.
Johnson, who received 11 Emmy nominations during his 40-plus years directing, won in 1986 for his work on Wallenberg: A Hero's Story, a miniseries about Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.
In 1989 he won another Emmy for Gore Vidal's Civil War drama Lincoln, starring Sam Waterston.
Johnson is survived by a son and daughter, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.