Ja’Net DuBois, ‘Good Times’ Actress and Singer, Dies at 74

Ja'Net DuBois (Credit: Shutterstock

Ja’net DuBois, an Emmy Award-winning actress, best known for her role as outspoken neighbor Willona Woods on Good Times, has died. She was 74.

DuBois passed away late Monday night at her home in Glendale, Calif., according to The Associated Press. She appeared to have died of natural causes.

In addition to her role on Good Times, DuBois co-wrote and sang the iconic theme song “Movin’ On Up” for The Jeffersons.

Good Times (Credit: CBS)
“Good Times” (Credit: CBS)

After learning of her death, Good Times and The Jeffersons producer Norman Lear described her as a “light.”

“Ja’Net DuBois was all light and will be missed,” Lear wrote on Instagram. “I love that she wrote the theme song for her passing, ‘Movin’ on Up.'”

Janet Jackson, who played the actress’ adopted daughter “Penny” Woods on Good Times, shared a tribute on social media as well, saying she remained friends with DuBois.

“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,” Jackson wrote. “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 began her career on Broadway, and later landed roles on a string of classic TV series, including Sanford and Son and Kojak, before she was cast on Good Times.

She won two Emmys for her voice work on the WB series The PJs, and appeared in the films Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and Tropic Thunder.

DuBois was a co-founder of the Pan African Film Festival, which is being held this week in Los Angeles. The festival released a statement Tuesday calling DuBois “Our Founder, Now Our Angel.”