Nearly a month after her death, new details have been released about how “Good Times” star Ja’Net DuBois died.
According to her death certificate obtained by TMZ, DuBois died from cardiac arrest. Some of the contributing factors were peripheral vascular disease and chronic kidney disease, which she had been dealing with privately for years.
Last month, TMZ reported that DuBois died in her sleep at her Glendale home.
Those near her told the outlet she had appeared to be in good health, and said that her passing was totally unexpected. Her age was given as 74, but documents suggest she was actually 87, which would be more in line with the length of her career.
In December 2019, DuBois appeared on the set of “Live in Front of a Studio Audience.” She made a spirited appearance at The Hollywood Show, an autograph event in Burbank, held January 31-February 2, only weeks before her death.
She is survived by her three children.
DuBois played the popular character of Willona on 133 episodes of “Good Times” from 1974-1979. Willona’s adopted daughter Penny was played by future superstar Janet Jackson.
Janet Jackson took to social media to acknowledge DuBois, writing, “I am so very saddened to hear my longtime friend Ja’Net DuBois has passed away. I saw first hand how she broke stereotypes and changed the landscape for Black women in entertainment. I’m grateful in recent years I had a chance to see her and create more lasting memories. I pray for comfort for all her family and friends. Thank you Ja’Net, I’ll miss you.”
Aside from “Good Times,” it is DuBois’ voice that is heard over the opening credits of “The Jeffersons” (1975-1985); she co-wrote and performed the song “Movin’ On Up,” one of the most memorable themes in TV history. She also worked extensively on TV and had been a stage actress since the early ’60s.