Ja'net DuBois who played Willona in 'Good Times', passes away at the age of 74

Ja'net DuBois who played Willona in 'Good Times', passes away at the age of 74
DuBois as Willona in 'Good Times' (CBS)

Iconic TV actress Ja’net DuBois, still widely acclaimed for her six-season run on the CBS sitcom 'Good Times', is dead. She was found in her Glendale, California home on February 18, and according to her family's statement to TMZ, she passed away unexpectedly in her sleep. DuBois was 74.

Born as Jeannette DuBois in Brooklyn, New York, the actress played the supporting role of Willona Woods on the 'Maude' spin-off, before her role was upgraded to a series regular in the fifth season that ran from 1977 to 1978. This came after Esther Rolle temporarily exited the sitcom 'Good Times', and DuBois' character Willona's arc saw her adopting a young girl named Penny Gordon on the show, who was played by Janet Jackson. DuBois' Willona then continued being the lead on the series through the series-finale on January 30, 1980. Funnily enough, despite an estimated age difference of 25 years, on the show, her character Willona and Esther Rolle's Florida Evans were former schoolmates.

Actress Ja'net Dubois attends the Fifth Annual Africian American Film Critics Association Awards at the Taglyan Cultural Complex on January 31, 2014 in Hollywood, California (Getty Images)

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DuBois, also a well-known singer, and a songwriter, garnered fame for co-writing and performing the theme song for the comedy show, 'The Jeffersons'. Her illustrious career also saw her voicing the character of Mrs. Avery in the claymation comedy 'The P.J.s' on Fox, which earned her two Emmys for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance. She also played Mrs. Patterson in the animated series 'As Told by Ginger', and in 1987, she appeared in her then former co-star Jackson's music video for 'Control' in the role of her mother. DuBois' other works include guest appearances on shows like 'Sanford and Son', 'Shaft', 'The Blue Knight', 'Kojak', and 'Caribe'. Following the success of 'Good Times', DuBois had also appeared as a guest star in several shows including 'The Love Boat', 'The Facts of Life', 'Houston Knights', 'A Different World', and 'Beverly Hills, 90210'. 

DuBois is believed to have had at least two children: Rani Dubois and Raj Kristo Gupta, who passed away at the age of 36 from cancer.

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