Jimmie Walker Slammed ‘Good Times’ Cast, Tells What Really Went On Behind The Scenes
Back in the day, when Good Times dominated television, many fans probably thought the ‘Evans family’ dynamic was pretty typical. On camera, it was hard to tell they weren’t really a close-knit family, but behind closed doors, the actors’ dynamic was anything but typical. In fact, for the first time ever, Good Times star, Jimmie Walker a.k.a. “J.J.”, is giving fans the low-down on what it was REALLY like when the cameras weren’t rollin.’ During a new tell-all interview, he spilled all the beans.
Tellin’ It All:
According to Jimmie, the vast majority of the cast barely interacted with each other at all when they weren’t filming. In fact, the former J.J. actor admitted he doesn’t remember ever having an actual conversation with his co-star, Esther Rolle. Jimmie revealed John Amos, the ‘Evans family’ patriarch, was very much like Esther. “I will honestly say, I don’t remember ever speaking a word to Ester the whole time she was there,” remembered Walker.
While Jimmie and John Amos have a better relationship now, he admits things weren’t so great when the show was at it’s popularity peak. Jimmie went on to offer an example of how real the gap was between him and his co-stars. “I think the same basically goes for John. We talk more now but very, very little. We were never friends, never talked. If you said at that time ‘Call Esther and ask her about [something],’ I wouldn’t even have her number,” he added.” I couldn’t have called John. I wouldn’t have had his number … We never spoke to each other. Only on the set … We never did anything together.”
Drama Behind The Scenes:
Jimmie went on to discuss the downward spiral of the hit sitcom. While we all know good things don’t always last forever, it appears Jimmie Walker believes Good Times actually could have lasted a bit longer than it did. However, he believes his castmates weren’t appreciative of being on a hit show. “I think that they killed the goose that laid the golden egg,” he stated. “These people, anytime you said anything, they get crazy, they get upset. I said ‘They don’t get it, man.’”
One actor who reportedly caused drama behind the scenes was John Amos. To Jimmie, it seemed as if Good Times wasn’t good enough for the rising actor. Often times, his attitude led to creative differences between him and the production staff. “John is a good actor, a solid actor,” said Jimmie. “And I think it was just this show, this situation, that was against anything and everything he believed in. He never been a problem on any other show.”
After three seasons, John Amos was fired from Good Times and despite his alleged beliefs about the show, the show ultimately went on without him.
Jimmie also had a tid bit to say about Bernadette Stanis, the beautiful upcoming actress who portrayed JJ’s sister, “Thelma Evans” on the show. While he believed all of his former castmates were talented in their own right, he believed there was something special about Bernadette. However, he thinks she missed many opportunities to capitalize on her image. Jimmie revealed he was shot down completely when he made suggestions.
“Norman Lear and John Amos came to me and said ‘How dare you put our girl in a position like that?” he recalled. “She’s not a h-e. You keep your illicit mind off of that and never bring that up again … They came down so hard on me.”
On Janet Jackson:
As Good Times progressed, more recurring actors were added to the cast. Ben Powers and a young Janet Jackson were two talented actors who became staples on the show as John Amos and Esther Rolle’s characters were gradually phased out. While Janet’s role of Penny did solidify her career as a child actor, Jimmie also revealed the low-down on that. Apparently, the writers created the role of Penny after ongoing complaints from Ja’Net DuBois.
The talented actress, who portrayed “Willona” on the show, allegedly complained about her character not having enough time in the spotlight. After relentless complaining, the additional role was created to help develop a storyline for DuBois. Jimmie believes Janet Jackson would have never been part of the show if it weren’t for ongoing complaints.
“Without Ja’Net, I don’t think Janet Jackson would’ve ever gotten on our show,” said Walker. “Because she laid out her side of whatever so much, that the writer said ‘We’ve got to do something to get her off our backs.’”
Well damn, didn’t know it was like THAT! Good Times is still a CLASSIC though.