Actor and comedian Johnny Brown, best known as the beloved actor who played the housing project superintendent “Bookman” on the hit sitcom, Good Times, has passed away. He was 84.
“It’s too terrible. It will never not be. It’s a shock. He was literally snatched out of our lives. It’s not real for us yet,” his daughter Sharon Brown, an actor and composer, wrote Friday. “To articulate the depths of profound sadness,” Sharon’s caption read in part. “This is my mom’s husband for sixty-one years, mine and JJ’s dad, Elijah and Levi’s Pop Pop, older brother to George and brother in law to Pat and extended family to Chris, Hihat, Damian, and Derell. So, there will be more to say but not now. Dad was the absolute best. We love him so very much.”
Sharon told TMZ that her father was at the doctor’s office in L.A. on Wednesday getting his pacemaker checked. But shortly after that visit he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Sharon told the outlet that the doctor’s appointment was routine, making his sudden death a huge shock to the family.
“Good Times” was originally a spinoff from “Maude” and centered on the Evans family, led by mother Florida (Esther Rolle) and James Evans (award-winning actor John Amos) in a Chicago housing project. It also featured Jimmie Walker, who became famous for his trademark “Dynomite!” phrase, and a young Janet Jackson.
In addition to his four-year run on the show, Brown frequently appeared on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” and enjoyed a lengthy singing and stage career.
Brown’s “Bookman” character was often teased about his weight by Walker’s character “JJ” and other members of the Evans family.
“Sometimes you can do too much of a thing, and it doesn’t come natural,” Brown said in 2019. “With everybody [calling Bookman] ‘buffalo butt’ in a scene, it loses something. … They even had Janet [Jackson], who had just come on the show, answering like Mr. Buffalo Butt.”
“And they used it in every show. They used it when I walked in the show, all through the scene. When I left the scene, they used it. I couldn’t say anything because I have a wife and two kids to support. Now at my age, I would have to say something.”
Brown was born on June 11, 1937, in St. Petersburg, Florida, and raised in Harlem. He won an amateur night competition at the Apollo Theater; starred in