The Good Times family has lost one of their own, as TMZ recently reported. Ja'net Dubois, who played the Evans family's neighbor Willona Woods on the sitcom, had died at the age of 74. Dubois' cause of death is not currently known, but the publication reported that the actor was found dead in her home in Glendale, California on Tuesday morning.
TMZ reported that Dubois passed away unexpectedly in her sleep and that she was found in her home on Tuesday morning by an unidentified individual. The publication went on to note that Dubois had not complained of any ailments in recent weeks and appeared to be in good health. She also recently attended a fan event in Hollywood a couple of weeks prior to her passing.
In addition to her work on Good Times, Dubois also sang the classic theme song for The Jeffersons, "Movin' On Up." She is also well-known for her voice-over work, as she received two Emmy awards for The PJs. Most recently, in December, Dubois appeared at the end of ABC's production of Good Times Live (for Live in Front of a Studio Audience) alongside several of her former co-stars including Jimmie Walker and Bern Nadette Stannis.
In April 2006, shortly after she, Stannis, and John Amos accepted the Impact Award for Good Times at the TV Land Awards, Dubois spoke with Andy Cohen about her career. Dubois especially touched on the fact that her Willona wardrobe was a game-changer for the representation of black women on television.
"Rita Ridge was our designer -- and let me tell you that I had a lot of style in the 70s and I did an arrangement on the outfits she made me. I set the stage for a sharp black woman to walk through the door with style, class, humor and looks," Dubois told Cohen. And I did it. I think I was a help to Rita. I could be creative and expressive and bring ME to the clothes, and Norman let me be impromptu and bring me to Willona.
"My job as Willona was to make it right, fast and funny. It was a wonderful thing that happened," she continued. "It changed the scene for the type of black woman being shown. The wigs, the hats, my everything was a dream come true. I used to teach acting in NYC and I taught the kids how to present themselves, show them the best. Every dream I had came to fruition through "Good Times," so those kids could watch me on TV and see me applying all I taught them."