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‘We Shared So Many Things’: Ja’Net Dubois, Who Played Willona on ‘Good Times,’ Has Passed Away

Ja’Net Dubois, who became a household name from playing the character Willona Woods on the ’70s sitcom “Good Times,” has passed away. The actress was found deceased on Tuesday in her home in Glendale, California.

The cause of death has yet to be revealed, and, according to TMZ, Dubois, who reportedly was 74, didn’t complain of any ailments recently. She also attended a fan event at the Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel on Feb. 1 in Burbank, California.

The actress Ja’net DuBois, who played Willona on “Good Times,” passed away in her home in Glendale, California. (Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Besides being an actress and a style icon for many, Dubois was a singer. She sang the theme song to the ’70s sitcom “The Jeffersons.”

Before landing the “Good Times” role, Dubois started her career on Broadway. She then made appearances on the small screen in series like “Sanford and Son,” “Kojak,” and “Roots: The Next Generations.”

She won two Emmy awards for lending her voice to “The PJs” as well.

Dubois also released an album titled “Queen of the Highway” in 1980 and another LP in 2007 titled “Hidden Treasures.”

BURBANK, CA – FEBRUARY 01: Ralph Carter, Ja’Net DuBois, Jimmie Walker, BernNadette Stanis and Johnny Brown attend the 2020 Hollywood Show held at Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel on February 1, 2020 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

Of course, on “Good Times,” as Willona, she played the neighbor of the Evans family and eventually adopted the character Penny, played by Janet Jackson.

Dubois and Jackson reunited many years later in the video for the singer’s 1986 single “Control,” where the actress played her mother.

On Tuesday, Janet Jackson and Bernnadette Stanis, who played Thelma Evans on “Good Times,” acknowledged Dubois’ death on Instagram.

Jackson wrote, “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. 🖤”

Janet Jackson and Ja’Net Dubois on the set of “Good Times.” @janetjackson/ Instagram

Stanis shared, “My Dear Ja’Net, you were like an aunt to me,” wrote Stanis. “We shared so many things, from my early days on Good Times to just two weeks ago at the Hollywood Show. I will miss you and all of your cast family will miss you.” 

@thelmaofgoodtimes Instagram

Some seemed to learn about Dubois’ passing through Stanis’ message and left comments.

“I loved her character,” one person wrote. “She brought so much love to the show and a whole lot of humor. May she rest Rest In Peace❤️.”

“oooooooooooooo. I love her so much,” wrote someone else. “She was always fashion goals on the show.”

“🙏🏽 ❤️I love Good times and still watch to this day!! This is a lady that will be truly missed by many♥️” read another comment.

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