BernNadette Stanis, the actress who played Thelma Evans on the CBS sitcom “Good Times,” is sharing what it was like to work with an 11-year-old Janet Jackson. Stanis starred in the sitcom from 1974 to 1979.
The 69-year-old actress worked with Jackson for two years on “Good Times.” Jackson joined the cast in 1977 as Penny, an abused child whose mother burned her with a hot iron.
Stanis told People Jackson was a great actress and noted her impressive acting skills during the hot iron episode.
“The world had never seen anything like that,” said Stanis. “To this very day, when I see that scene, I get goosebumps. I just love the way little Janet handled that. And when she did that ‘No, mommy. No, mommy. No, mommy,’ I said, ‘Oh babe, don’t say that.’ My tears. I can’t watch that scene.”
Stanis also recalled forming a bond with Jackson and feeling like she had a little sister on the set. “It was wonderful when she came because I got a little sister,” she recalled. “That’s how I felt towards her. She was like a little sister to me. She said to me, when she was an adult, she told me, ‘Thank you.'” The duo reunited in 2018 at the Essence Fest.
The Julliard-trained actress said working with Jackson was “a delight” and recalled how disciplined Jackson was as a child. “She was disciplined. She knew her lines. She did her little schoolwork. She was sweet as pie, still sweet as pie,” she said. “But I’m just saying, to come from a family that was so wonderful and big in the world and to have such a humble little spirit, it’s amazing. It was amazing.”
Stanis also shared that she became friendly with the entire Jackson family and often played Uno at Katherine Jackson‘s house.
“My mother and myself and my daughters, we would go over to their mom’s house, and we would play Uno,” she said. “They were just regular, wonderful people. I love Mrs. Jackson.”
Stanis is currently playing Nee Nee Duncan on the BET crime-drama “The Family Business,” while Jackson is getting ready for her #TogetherAgainTour, which begins in April.