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Source: Getty Images

Ja'Net DuBois' Life before & after Playing Willona Woods on 'Good Times'

Gracious Egedegbe
Feb 19, 2020
02:38 P.M.
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Ja'Net DuBois, famous for playing Wilona in "Good Times," passed away on Monday. Ms. DuBois's character was a kind neighbor with an incredible sense of fashion.

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Ja'Net's daughter announced her death on Monday. Although the family places her age at 74, sources suggest the number could have been higher.

DuBois was raised by a single mom in Philadelphia. At the time of Jeannette's birth, like most black families at the time, they barely had enough to survive on.

Actress Ja'net DuBois arrives at the Heroes In The Struggle Gala at Director's Guild Of America on December 1, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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When she became old enough to make decisions, the actress left Philadelphia for Brooklyn. There, she joined other promising stars on Broadway. That decision soon paid up as she featured in a lot of Broadway plays, including "Diary of a Mad Housewife."

By the 60s, she was running a workshop for young actors in Amityville, New York. From there, she relocated to L.A. where she filmed "Good Times."

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While on the set of "Good Times," Ms. DuBois requested more opportunities from Norman Lear, one of the executive producers on the show. Lear nudged her in the direction of "The Jeffersons." 

Later on, Jeannette Dubois co-founded the Los Angeles Pan African Film & Arts Festival.

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Ja'Net became a co-writer and performer of the iconic theme song for "The Jeffersons" titled "Movin' on Up." The song was conceived as a promise to her mother.

In the song, Ms. DuBois promised her mother a deluxe apartment and other luxuries of life when she achieves fame and stardom. According to Ja'Net's daughter, Gupta-Fields, the song was a promise by Ms. DuBois to her mother.

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The "Good Times" actress was able to keep her word before her mother died; in her words, "I moved my whole family. I bought her a house, bought her a mink coat. I did everything, retired her. I did everything I ever promised her."

After filming "Good Times," Ms. DuBois went on to feature in other sitcoms such as "Diary of a Mad Housewife" and "The Steve Harvey Show." She later won two Emmys for her performance in Eddie Murphy's "The PJs."

Later on, Jeannette Dubois co-founded the Los Angeles Pan African Film & Arts Festival with the vision of showcasing talented people of African Descent. 

On the personal angle, Ms. Dubois raised a family, which was contrary to the stereotypes in Hollywood. She will be deeply missed by her daughters, son, and sister.

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