Johnny Brown, the American actor, comedian, and singer best known for portraying the housing project superintendent Nathan Bookman on Good Times, has died. He was 84.
His daughter, actress Sharon Catherine Brown announced the news on her Instagram account on Friday. His daughter began the post with his birth and death dates, writing, ‘Johnny Brown June 11, 1937 – March 2, 2022.’
Sharon continued in her lengthy and heartfelt post: ‘Our family is devastated. Devastated. Devastated. Beyond heartbroken. Barely able to breathe. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time because we need a minute to process the unthinkable.’
She asked for privacy as the family takes times to ‘process the unthinkable.’ Brown continued, ‘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. So there will be more to say but not now. Dad was the absolute best. We love him so very much.’
In addition to starring on Good Times, Johnny was a musician who appeared on Broadway and was a regular on the show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The legendary entertainer was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, and grew up in Harlem, New York.
Aside from his daughter, Johnny is also survived by his wife of 61 years, June, their son Johnny Jr., or ‘JJ,’ a younger brother names George and brother-in-law named Pat. Brown’s career kicked off when he won an amateur night at The Apollo.
Following his win, he starred in a nightclub act with who would later become his wife, tap dancer Gregory Hines Jr., and drummer Gregory Hines Sr. Brown was a mentee to Sammy David Jr., which led him to a role on Broadway as Ronnie in Golden Boy.
In 1966 Brown filmed the drama A Man Called Adam. He later made his way back to Broadway in 1968 where he starred in Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights, which was directed by Sidney Poitier, who also recently passed away. A role as a waiter on a train in The Out of Towners led to a gig on The Leslie Uggams Show.
The longtime actor was on various late 90s TV shows including Family Matters, Sister, Sister, Moonlighting, and Martin.