Dan is a teenager living in Springwood, Ohio. A star football player, his friendship with Rick Johnson introduces him to Alice (who has a crush on him). Dan joins Alice to help defeat Freddy Krueger, and Alice saves his life.
In A Nightmare on Elm Street 5, Dan and Alice begin a romantic relationship and Alice becomes pregnant with their son, Jacob Johnson. After Freddy returns (using the unborn Jacob's dreams), Dan falls asleep while driving and Freddy kills him; Dan dreams that he is driving a motorcycle, and Freddy (appearing in a mechanized version of himself) murders him by shoving bike cables up Dan's arms, legs and skull. When Dan wakes up, he crashes into a truck; his pickup explodes, killing him instantly. Dan never learns that Alice was pregnant with his son.
In the Nightmares on Elm Street comic series, Dan is resurrected in Neil Gordon's comatose body after Jacob again defeats Freddy.