Ja’Net Dubois, who charmed us as Willona Woods on Good Times, died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday. She was 74.
According to TMZ, the Emmy Award-winning actress was found dead at her home in Glendale, California. Her death was reportedly unexpected as her family said she appeared upbeatand “hadn’t complained of any specific ailments recently.” Just weeks ago, the actress attended an event in Hollywood where she engaged directly with doting fans.
Before she owned the part of the project’s busybody with the heart of gold, Dubois started out acting on Broadway. She stood out in multiple productions, including Golden Boy with castmates Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Gossett Jr., and A Raisin In The Sun. She went on to appear in popular films such as Basic Instinct, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Tropic Thunder and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
She also played the role of the restrictive mother in Janet Jackson’s iconic video for “Control.” Her appearance was a wink to their roles on Good Times as foster mother and daughter during Jackson’s formative years.
Dubois was a talented singer in her own right. She composed and performed the unforgettable theme song to the late seventies sit-com, The Jeffersons.
In the 80s, she ran the the Ja’net DuBois Academy of Theater Arts and Sciences, where she introduced many high-school aged children in Long Island, New York to the performing arts.
Later in her career she brought us laughs by appearing in classic Black shows such as A Different World, Wayans Brothers, Moesha, Sister Sister, One on One, Hanging with Mr. Cooper, and the Steve Harvey Show.
She received two Emmy awards for her role as Mrs. Avery on the prime-time claymation hit The PJs.
Our hearts and prayers are with the Dubois family at this time.