Florida Evans

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Florida Evans
First appearance Maude Meets Florida (Maude)
Last appearance The End of the Rainbow (Good Times)
Portrayed by Esther Rolle
Information
Aliases Florida Wilson
Gender Female
Occupation Housewife, School Bus Driver, Housekeeper
Spouse(s) James Evans Sr. (widowed; 1955-1976)
Carl Dixon
Children Michael (younger son)
J. J. Evans (older son)
Thelma Evans (oldest daughter)
Keith Albert Anderson (son-in-law)
Relatives Raymond (cousin)
Clara (aunt; deceased) Cleatus (nephew)
Gladys (mother)
Religion Methodist

Florida Evans Dixon (born 1935[nb 1]) is the fictional supporting character on the sitcom Maude and the lead character in its spin-off, Good Times. She was the hard-working mother of the Evans family. She first appeared as Maude and Walter's housekeeper on Maude (19721974), but later she quit to be a housewife, which was when Good Times began (19741977, 19781979). Florida Evans was portrayed by Emmy Award-winning actress Esther Rolle.

Florida Evans Bio[edit]

Florida was born in Tuskegee, Alabama on August 4, 1935. Originally, her character had worked for Maude and Walter Findlay, who lived in Tuckahoe, New York, while appearing on Maude. Maude was somewhat her foil, but they would eventually form a warm and happy friendship. Florida also got along wonderfully with Walter and especially Carol, whom she called "honey". At first her background was that she was from Harlem, and married to Henry Evans, and would commute from Harlem to Tuckahoe to work at Maude's house.

However, Florida's background was rewritten when Good Times began, with the character now having spent most of her life in Chicago; no further references were made to the Findlays or New York. Florida grew up poor. She never finished high school because she wanted to support her parents and did so by working at minimum wage jobs. As a young adult, she met the man of her dreams: James Evans, Sr. (name changed). They were later married, made the move to north-side Chicago from south-side, and had three children together: James Evans Jr., Thelma, and Michael. The family lived in various housing projects for many years after living in a cold water flat.

Her husband James fought to get out of the ghetto and almost succeeded. James had left to find a job in Mississippi and the family was scheduled to follow him shortly after, but he was killed in a car accident while in Mississippi. That left the now-widowed Florida to support herself and her three children. Also giving her much needed moral support was her best friend, Willona Woods.

Halfway through the fourth season (19761977), Florida met a man named Carl Dixon (played by Moses Gunn) and fell in love with him over the course of the next season and a half, despite the fact that he was an atheist and Florida was a devout churchgoer who attended a church which was part of the National Baptist Convention. However, due to his diagnosis and subsequent battle with lung cancer, he moved to Arizona, where the dry air would be better for his condition and improve his chances of longevity; Florida moved with him. (This was done to accommodate Esther Rolle's departure from the show during the 1977–1978 season). Florida returned to Chicago for the final 1978–1979 season, but little mention was made of Carl, leaving the viewers to wonder if he'd either lost his battle with lung cancer or decided to remain in Arizona without her.

In the final episode of the show, Florida finally moved to an apartment with Keith and Thelma, after Thelma revealed that she was pregnant. She said she didn't know how to raise a baby and would feel more comfortable if Florida was there. Also, Florida's best friend Willona wound up moving to the same luxury apartment around the same time as Florida, making the two best friends once again neighbors.

Reception[edit]

In May 2012, Florida Evans was one of the 12 moms chosen by users of iVillage on their list of "Mommy Dearest: The TV Moms You Love".[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The character Florida is made to be in her mid-40s.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Garfinkel, Jacki (May 10, 2012). "Mommy Dearest: The TV Moms You Love". iVillage. Retrieved June 17, 2012.