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Ja'net DuBois

Ja'net DuBois American actress and singer

American actress and singer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American actress and singer
A.K.A. Jeannette Dubois
Was Actor Television actor Film actor Singer Voice actor
From United States of America
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio Music
Gender female
Birth 5 August 1945, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Death 18 February 2020, Glendale, California (aged 74 years)
Star sign LeoLeo
Residence Glendale, California
The details

Jeannette Dubois (August 5, 1945 – February 18, 2020) , known professionally as Ja'Net DuBois, Ja'net DuBois, and Ja'Net Du Bois (/ɑːˈn dˈbwɑː/), was an American actress, singer–songwriter and dancer. DuBois was best known for her portrayal of Willona Woods, the neighborhood gossip maven and a friend of the Evans family on the sitcom Good Times, which originally aired from 1974 to 1979. DuBois additionally co–wrote and sang the theme song "Movin' on Up" for The Jeffersons, which originally aired from 1975 until 1985.

Early life and career

Born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City or in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (sources differ), the daughter of Lillian Dubois, DuBois was raised in Amityville, New York, on Long Island. She began her acting career in theater during the early 1960s, appearing in Broadway's Golden Boy with Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Gossett Jr. in 1956. DuBois's early television acting credits include the 1969 television movie J.T. and the long–television soap opera Love of Life, on which her 1970–1972 role as Loretta Allen made her the first African–American female as a regular cast-member on a daytime serial.' In 1970, DuBois appeared in her first film, playing Vera in Diary of a Mad Housewife.


Television producer Norman Lear saw DuBois in Lanford Wilson's play The Hot l Baltimore at the Mark Taper Forum, which led to her being cast in the 1974–1979 CBS comedy series Good Times. DuBois recorded the album Again, Ja'Net DuBois, on her Peanuts and Caviar label, in 1983. DuBois appeared in former Good Times co-star Janet Jackson's 1987 "Control" music video as her mother. In 1992, she co-starred with Clifton Davis in And I Still Rise, a play written and directed by Maya Angelou. She co-starred in the films I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003), and on television in Moesha, The Steve Harvey Show, A Different World, and The Wayans Bros..

During the 1980s, DuBois operated the Ja'net DuBois Academy of Theater Arts and Sciences, a performing-arts school for teenagers in Long Island, New York. In 1992, DuBois, Danny Glover and Ayuko Babu co-founded the Pan African Film & Arts Festival in Los Angeles.


In 1995, DuBois won a CableAce award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the Lifetime movie Other Women’s Children. In 2000, DuBois served as Grand Marshal for the North Amityville Community Parade and Festival Day in Amityville, New York. She won two Emmy Awards for her voiceover work on the animated program The PJs (1999). DuBois with the cast of Good Times received The Impact Icon Award at the 2006 TV Land Awards.

Personal life and death

DuBois had at least two children: Rani Dubois, and Raj Kristo Gupta, who died of cancer in 1987 at age 36. Rani appeared on an episode of the 1970s sitcom What's Happening!!.

DuBois died on February 18, 2020. Her family says she died in her sleep unexpectedly at her Glendale, California home.


  • Queen of the Highway (Som Livre, 1980)
  • Hidden Treasures (Peanuts & Caviar Internationale, 2007)

Film and television

Year(s) Title Role
1966 A Man Called Adam Martha
1969 J.T. Rodeen Gamble
1970–72 Love of Life (unknown episodes) Loretta Allen
1972 Sanford and Son (1 episode) Juanita Grismore
1973 Five on the Black Hand Side Stormy Monday
1973 Shaft (1 episode) Diana Richie
1973 The Blue Knight Celia Louise
1974–79 Good Times (133 episodes) Willona Woods
1974 Kojak (1 episode) Paula Thomas
1975 Caribe (1 episode) Melinda Jameson
1977 A Piece of the Action Nellie Bond
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Sally Harvey
1980 The Love Boat (1 episode) Evelyn Hopkins
1981 Hellinger's Law Dottie Singer
1981 The Facts of Life (1 episode) Ethel (Tootie's grandmother)
1981 The Sophisticated Gents Onetha Wiggins
1983 The Tom Swift and Linda Craig Mystery Hour Mrs. Gorman
1986 Stranded Bettina
1987 Kids Like These Mrs. Page
1988 I'm Gonna Git You Sucka Ma Bell
1989 Nearly Departed (1 episode) Clerk
1990 Penny Ante: The Motion Picture Aunt
1990 Heart Condition Mrs. Stone
1990 New Attitude (1 episode) Irma
1990 Doctor Doctor (1 episode) Ella Wilkes
1990 Hammer, Slammer, & Slade Joanne Wilson
1991 A Different World (1 episode) Brenda Hanes
1991 True Colors (1 episode) May Freeman
1991 Dream On (1 episode) June
1992 Beverly Hills, 90210 (1 episode) Arlene
1992-93 The Golden Palace (2 episodes) Louise Wilson
1993 Harlan & Merleen Maxine
1994 Sister, Sister (1 episode) Mom O'Danielle
1994 Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (1 episode) Dorothy Cooper
1995 Martin (1 episode) Herself
1991/1995 Home Improvement (2 episodes) Carol
1995 ER (1 episode) Macy Chamberlain
1995 Magic Island Lucretia
1996 Sophie & the Moonhanger Agnes
1996 Don't Look Back Mrs. Lawson
1997 Moesha (1 episode) Mrs. Moss
1997 Touched by an Angel (1 episode) Esther Hamilton
1996–1998 The Wayans Bros. (10 episodes) Grandma Ellington
1998 Best Friends for Life Katie Pegues
1998 Hard Time Lefty
1999 Clueless (1 episode) Aunt Liddy
1999 Hard Time: Hostage Hotel Lefty, Logan's Assistant
1999–2001 The PJs (42 episodes) Mrs. Florence Avery
2000 Waterproof Viola Battle
2000 The Steve Harvey Show (1 episode) Delores
2000 Everybody Loves Raymond (1 episode) Dottie
2000/2002 As Told by Ginger (2 episodes) Mrs. Patterson
2003 Boomtown (1 episode) Denise Smith
2003 One on One (1 episode) Queen Esther
2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Momma Bosley
2006 Crossing Jordan (1 episode) Mrs. Jones
2007 Random! Cartoons (1 episode) Mom
2007 Cold Case (1 episode) Edna Johnson
2011 G.I. Joe: Renegades Grams Hinton
2016 She's Got a Plan Betty Angelo

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Series Result
1998 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Touched by an Angel Nominated
1999 Primetime Emmy Outstanding Voice-Over Performance The PJs Won
2001 Primetime Emmy Outstanding Voice-Over Performance The PJs: Let's Get Ready To Rumba Won
2006 TV Land Image Award Good Times Won
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