Ja'net Dubois

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Ja'net Dubois
Good Times 1976.JPG
Dubois as Willona Woods with her friend Walter Ingles (portrayed by J.A. Preston) on Good Times circa 1976.
Born Jeannette Dubois
(1945-08-05) August 5, 1945 (age 72)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
  • Actress
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • dancer
Years active 1958–present
Known for Willona WoodsGood Times
Spouse(s) Sajit Gupta[1]
(?-?) (divorced)
Children 4

Jeannette Dubois (born August 5, 1945[2][3][4]) (sources differ), known professionally as Ja'net Dubois (/ɑːˈn dˈbwɑː/), is an American actress, singer–songwriter and dancer. DuBois is best known for her portrayal of Willona Woods on the CBS sitcom Good Times which originally aired from 1974 to 1979. Dubois additionally co–wrote and sang the theme song "Movin' On Up" for the sitcom The Jeffersons which originally aired from 1975 until 1985.[5]


Early life and career[edit]

Born Jeannette Dubois[6] to Lillian Dubois[5] in either Brooklyn, New York,[2] or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[4][6] (sources differ), DuBois began her acting career in theater stage during the early 1960s, appearing in plays such as "Golden Boy" alongside Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Gossett Jr., and "A Raisin in the Sun".[citation needed] Dubois' early television acting credits include the 1969 television movie J.T. and the long–television soap opera Love of Life, on which her 1970-1972 role as Loretta Allen made her the first African-American female as a regular cast-member on a daytime serial.'[6] In 1970, Dubois appeared as Vera in the film Diary of a Mad Housewife.


Television producer Norman Lear saw Dubois in a Lanford Wilson play The Hot l Baltimore at the Mark Taper Forum, which led to her being cast in the 1974-1979 CBS comedy series Good Times.[6] DuBois recorded the album Again, Ja'Net Dubois, on her Peanuts and Caviar label, in 1983.[7] DuBois appeared in former Good Times co-star Janet Jackson's 1987 "Control" music video as her mother. In 1992, she co-starred alongside Clifton Davis in And I Still Rise, a play written and directed by Maya Angelou.[8] Dubois won an CableACE Award for her work on the TV movie, Other Women's Children, based on the novel by Perri Klass, and she also two Emmy Awards for her voiceover work on the animated program The PJs (1999). She co-starred in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003), and on television in Moesha, The Steve Harvey Show, A Different World, and The Wayans Bros..


In 1995, Dubois won a CableAce award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the Lifetime movie "Other Women Children".[9] In 2000, DuBois was grand marshal for the North Amityville Community Parade and Festival Day in Amityville, New York.[10]


Dubois was married to Sajit Gupta.[1] Dubois has had at least four children: Rani Dubois,[11], Yvonne Dubois, Burghardt Dubois and Raj Kristo Gupta, who died of cancer in 1987 at age 36.[12] Her daughter Rani is also an actress who appeared on an episode of the 1970s sitcom What's Happening!!.[13]


  • Queen Of The Highway (Som Livre, 1980)
  • Hidden Treasures (Peanuts & Caviar Internationale, 2007)

Film and television[edit]

Year(s) Title Role
1966 A Man Called Adam Martha
1969 J.T. Rodeen Gamble
1970–72 Love of Life (unknown episodes) Loretta Allen
1972 Sanford and Son (1 episode) Juanita
1973 Five on the Black Hand Side Stormy Monday
1973 Shaft (1 episode) Diana Richie
1973 The Blue Knight Celia Louise
1974–79 Good Times (133 episodes) Willona Woods
1974 Kojak (1 episode) Paula Thomas
1975 Caribe (1 episode) Melinda Jameson
1977 A Piece of the Action Nellie Bond
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Sally Harvey
1980 The Love Boat (1 episode) Evelyn Hopkins
1981 Hellinger's Law Dottie Singer
1981 The Facts of Life (1 episode) Ethel (Tootie's grandmother)
1981 The Sophisticated Gents Onetha Wiggins
1983 The Tom Swift and Linda Craig Mystery Hour Mrs. Gorman
1986 Stranded Bettina
1987 Kids Like These Mrs. Page
1988 I'm Gonna Git You Sucka Ma Bell
1989 Nearly Departed (1 episode) Clerk
1990 Penny Ante: The Motion Picture Aunt
1990 Heart Condition Mrs. Stone
1990 New Attitude (1 episode) Irma
1990 Doctor Doctor (1 episode) Ella Wilkes
1990 Hammer, Slammer, & Slade Joanne Wilson
1991 A Different World (1 episode) Brenda Hanes
1991 True Colors (1 episode) May Freeman
1991 Dream On (1 episode) June
1992 Beverly Hills, 90210 (1 episode) Arlene
1992-93 The Golden Palace (2 episodes) Louise Wilson
1993 Harlan & Merleen Maxine
1994 Sister, Sister (1 episode) Mother O'Dantelle
1994 Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (1 episode) Dorothy Cooper
1991/1995 Home Improvement (2 episodes) Carol
1995 ER (1 episode) Macy Chamberlain
1995 Magic Island Lucretia
1996 Sophie & the Moonhanger Agnes
1996 Don't Look Back Mrs. Lawson
1997 Moesha (1 episode) Mrs. Moss
1997 Touched by an Angel (1 episode) Esther Hamilton
1996–1998 The Wayans Bros. (10 episodes) various roles
1995 Martin: All The Players Came Herself
1998 Best Friends for Life Katie Pegues
1998 Hard Time Lefty
1999 Waterproof Viola Battle
1999 Clueless (1 episode) Mrs. Davenport
1999 Hard Time: Hostage Hotel Lefty, Logan's Assistant
1999–2001 The PJs (42 episodes) Mrs. Florence Avery
2000 The Steve Harvey Show (1 episode) Delores
2000 Everybody Loves Raymond (1 episode) Dottie
2000/2002 As Told by Ginger (2 episodes) Mrs. Patterson
2003 Boomtown (1 episode) Denise Smith
2003 One on One (1 episode) Queen Esther
2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Momma Bosley
2004 Waterproof Viola Battle
2006 Crossing Jordan (1 episode) Mrs. Jones
2007 Random! Cartoons (1 episode) Mom
2007 Cold Case (1 episode) Edna Johnson
2011 G.I. Joe: Renegades Grams Hinton
2016 She's Got a Plan Betty Angelo [14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Series Result
1998 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Touched by an Angel Nominated
1999 Primetime Emmy Outstanding Voice-Over Performance The PJs Won[15]
2001 Primetime Emmy Outstanding Voice-Over Performance The PJs Won
2006 TV Land Image Award Good Times Won[16]


  1. ^ a b "Raveling Ja'net Dubois' Relationship! The Actress Who Kept Her Husband And Family Lowkey". Live Ramp Up. Web. October 23, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Ja'Net Du Bois". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2017. 
  3. ^ Berry, S. Torriano; Berry, Venise T. (2015). "DUBOIS, JA'NET (1945– )". Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema (2 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 142. This native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania... 
  4. ^ a b "Ja'net DuBois Biography (1945?-)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved June 19, 2017. Born August 5, 1945 (some sources cite 1938), in Philadelphia, PA. 
  5. ^ a b "TV Actress Ja'Net Dubois To Appear On 'Arsenio'". 82 (6). Jet. June 1, 1992: 60. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d McCann, Bob. Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television. McFarland & Company. pp. 103–04. ISBN 0786458046. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Celebrity Beat — New York to Hollywood". Jet. May 16, 1983. p. 53. 
  8. ^ "Actor Clifton Davis Stars in Maya Angelou's New Musical". 82 (20). Jet. September 7, 1992: 60. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  9. ^ JET Magazine - Ja'net DuBois, Chris Rock win CableAce Awards - February 6, 1995
  10. ^ "Newsmakers". July 31, 2000: 32. 
  11. ^ "Celebrities". Jet. March 24, 2003. p. 24. 
  12. ^ "Ja'net DuBois' Son Dies Of Cancer In New York". Jet. October 26, 1987. p. 61. 
  13. ^ Have you seen Ja'Net DuBois' daughter? - YouTube
  14. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6043842/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_1
  15. ^ "Ja'Net Dubois And Judith Jamison Win Primetime Emmy Awards". Jet. September 20, 1999: 34. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  16. ^ Christian, Margena A. (January 28, 2008). "The Cast of 'Good Times'?". 113 (3). Jet: 31. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 

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