Walker with Esther Rolle in a promotional shoot for Good Times, 1975
|Born||James Carter Walker
June 25, 1947
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
James Carter "Jimmie" Walker (born June 25, 1947) is an American actor and comedian, known for portraying James Evans Jr. (J.J.), the eldest son of Florida and James Evans, Sr. on the CBS television series Good Times, which ran from 1974 to 1979. While on the show, Walker's character was known for the catchphrase "Dy-no-mite!", which he also used in his mid-1970s TV commercial for a Panasonic line of cassette and 8-track tape players. He also starred in Let's Do It Again with Amos, and The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened with James Earl Jones. Walker continues to tour the country with his stand-up comedy routine.
Walker was born in The Bronx, New York. He attended Theodore Roosevelt High School in New York City. Through a federal program known as SEEK, or "Search for Education, Evaluation, and Knowledge", he continued his studies and entered into the field of radio engineering with WRVR. As a young man, Walker was a vendor at Yankee Stadium, starting with the 1964 World Series. He was given a silver dollar by Mickey Mantle, which he still has. Walker was very friendly with Gary Cohen, who went on to be operations manager at Yankee Stadium. In 1967, Walker began working full-time with WRVR, the radio station of the Riverside Church. During 1975 Walker was also a weekend personality on contemporary R&B music station KAGB 103.9 FM licensed to Inglewood in the Los Angeles market.
Show business career
In 1969, Walker began performing as a stand-up comedian and was eventually discovered by the casting director for Good Times, after making appearances on Rowan & Martin's Laugh In and on the Jack Paar Show. He eventually released one stand-up comedy album during the height of his Good Times popularity: Dyn-o-mite on Buddah Records (5635).
During Good Times' 1974–75 season, Walker was 26 years old, though his character was much younger. John Amos, the actor who portrayed Walker's father on Good Times, was actually just eight years older than Walker. Walker was 32 years old when the show ended its run at the end of the 1978–79 season. Walker credits producer/director John Rich for his catchphrase on the show "Dy-no-mite!", which Rich insisted Walker say on every episode. Both Walker and executive producer Norman Lear were skeptical of the idea, but the phrase and Walker's character caught on with the audience. Also, off- and on- camera, Walker did not get along with series' lead, Esther Rolle, who played Florida Evans, in the series, because she and Amos disapproved of Walker's increasingly buffoonish character and his popularity of the show, and he was hurt by this. Dissatisfaction led Amos (before Rolle), to leave the show, making Walker the defacto star. Even more hurting to the truth, after he lost his acting mentor, on November 17, 1998, Walker was the only Good Times star, not to attend her funeral, as well.
Walker appeared on The Tonight Show and Match Game during the 1970s and early 1980s. He also appeared on the 1990 revival of Match Game and other various game shows during that era. Walker has made guest appearances on Badge 373, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Larry Sanders Show, Son of the Beach, The Drew Carey Show, The John Larroquette Show, In the House, Cagney & Lacey, The Fall Guy, Scrubs, Star Dates, Everybody Hates Chris, George Lopez, Chelsea Lately and Lincoln Heights. He also appeared in films such as Airplane!, The Guyver', the parody Plump Fiction. He also was a surprise guest on Total Request Live. Aside from guest appearances, he starred in the short-lived television series At Ease in 1983 and Bustin' Loose in 1987. In the 1990s, Walker returned to his radio roots hosting shows on WHIO, WOAI, WLS, and KKAR. In 1996, he appeared on split release with Powerviolence band Spazz distributed by Spazz owned label Slap-a-ham records. In 2010, Walker made a cameo appearance in the movie Big Money Rustlas. In 2011, Walker did a Syfy channel movie Super Shark. In 2012, Jimmie Walker's autobiography Dyn-o-mite! Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times – A Memoir, was published. In 2012, Walker announced the release of his official app developed by Monty Goulet for iOS.
Personal and politics
According to an appearance on The Wendy Williams Show on June 27, 2012, Walker stated he has never been married and has never had any children. Walker appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on July 11, 2012. He stated that he did not vote for Barack Obama and that he would not vote for him in the 2012 election either. In an interview with CNN, Walker described himself politically as a "realist independent" and stated that he opposed affirmative action, saying that it had outlived its usefulness. He also said that he was against gay marriage on moral grounds, but believed legislation for its legalization should be passed, stating it was not worth fighting against.
Walker described his political beliefs at length in his autobiography, Dyn-O-Mite: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times: A Memoir. In it, he called himself a "logicist," who believes in "logic and common sense." He holds typical conservative positions on the death penalty, the size of government and capitalism. However, Walker is in favor of amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants and a system of universal health care for the United States. He voted for Ronald Reagan and noted that he also "loved Bill Clinton as our president" for welfare reforms instituted under his administration.
- "Jimmie JJ Walker's Gigs". Retrieved 2008-08-18.
- Grossberg, Michael (2006-07-24). "30 years after 'J.J.,' Walker still draws laughs.". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2008-08-18. (requires login)
- "Jimmie 'J.J.' Walker lights 'Dy-no-mite' on gay marriage, Leno and dating". CNN. July 16, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- "Jimmie 'J.J.' Walker enters No Spin Zone". Fox News. July 11, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2013. "O'REILLY: Did you vote for him first time around? / WALKER: I never voted for him."
- Jimmie Walker. Dyn-O-Mite: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times: A Memoir. Boston: Da Capo Press, 2012, ISBN 0306820838, pp. 194–203
- Official website
- Jimmie Walker at the Internet Movie Database
- Jimmie Walker interview with Nardwuar
- Interview with Nardwuar in mp3