Johnny Brown, Good Times’ Bookman, dead at 84


by Lee Dixon, | Johnny Brown, the multitalented actor, comedian, and musician best known for his role as Nathan Bookman, the building supervisor on the popular ’70s sitcom Good Times, has died at the age of 84.  His daughter, actress Sharon Catherine Brown, confirmed the news on Instagram:

“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 expressed.

“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.”

Brown, who was born June 11, 1937 in St. Petersburg, Florida, had numerous performing credits to his name.  He was a nightclub and stage performer who early on established a name for himself in the Broadway musical Golden Boy, starring Sammy Davis, Jr.  He played the part of ‘Ronnie,’ and was featured as the lead in the iconic  “Don’t Forget 127th Street”.

Brown excelled as a comic actor who appeared on other television shows including Flip Wilson Show, The Jeffersons, Family Matters, Archie Bunker’s Place, and Martin. He was also a regular cast member of the television series Laugh-in.  

Brown’s film credits include appearances in Life (1999), the critically acclaimed film starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, where he played the part of  Blind Reverend Clay; The Out of Towners (1970), in the role of Walter; and The Old Negro Space Program (2004), where he appeared as Wallace ‘Suitcase’ Jefferson

He will always be remembered for his huge smile, and easy comic style. 

In 1997, Johnny contributed to the introduction of the compilation album called Comedy Stew: The Best of Redd Foxx, and in it he tells how the role of Lamont in Sanford and Son had been first offered to him, but because of his prior commitment to Laugh-In he could not accept, leading producer Norman Lear to give the role to Demond Wilson instead.

No cause of death was given.