Ja’Net DuBois portrayed the character of Willona Woods on the classic television program Good Times. She was the sassy neighbor and friend who had sharp barbs for the other members on the show. She also was the mother of Penny that was played by a young Janet Jackson who posted a tribute on her Instagram.
She recently reunited with John Amos (James Evans), Jimmie Walker (JJ Evans), and Bernadette Stanis (Thelma Evans), for the Live In Front Of A Studio Audience program that paid tribute to Good Times in December 2019. The creator of the series left a tribute on his Instagram about Dubois along with cast members Janet Jackson and Bernadette Stanis.
“I am so very saddened to hear my longtime friend Ja’Net DuBois has passed away,” Jackson penned in a caption of herself with DuBois. “I saw first hand how she broke stereotypes and changed the landscape for Black women in entertainment. I’m grateful in recent years I had a chance to see her and create more lasting memories. I pray for comfort for all her family and friends. Thank you Ja’Net, I’ll miss you. 🖤.”
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I am so very saddened to hear my longtime friend Ja’Net DuBois has passed away. I saw first hand how she broke stereotypes and changed the landscape for Black women in entertainment. I’m grateful in recent years I had a chance to see her and create more lasting memories. I pray for comfort for all her family and friends. Thank you Ja’Net, I’ll miss you. 🖤
DuBois went on to win two Emmys later in life for her vocal work on Eddie Murphy’s 1999-2001 animated series The PJs. The late actress’s resumé includes appearances in Beverly Hills, 90210, A Different World, Sister Sister, Sanford and Son, The Love Boat, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Martin, Moesha, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and The Steve Harvey Show. Fans will also remember her as the voice behind the “Movin’ On Up” theme song for The Jeffersons.
RIP 👑 Ja’Net DuBois. Thanks for all the everything. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/HyrlTFuHm1
— Craig Seymour, storyteller (@craigspoplife) February 18, 2020
Norman Lear who created Good Times left a message on his Instagram about the star as well.
Ja’Net DuBois was all light and will be missed. I love that she wrote the theme song for her passing, “Movin’ on Up.” #goodtimes #thejeffersons
According to multiple reports, police believe that her death was natural causes and have no current plans to investigate.
— Chazz W (@Chazz4you) February 19, 2020
WorldWide Entertainment TV sends our condolences to the family and friends of this iconic star who changed the game for black women in entertainment.
— Vince Greco (@VinceGreco83) February 19, 2020