Actor Johnny Brown AKA "Bookman" From 'Good Times' Started Out as a Singer in the 1960s

Johnny Brown

Johnny Brown was an American actor and singer who was born on June 11, 1937, in St. Petersburg, Florida, and was raised in Harlem, New York. He was best known for his role as building superintendent Nathan Bookman on the 1970s CBS sitcom Good Times until the series came to an end in 1979.

Many people don't know, however, that he began his career as a singer in 1961 after touring with Sam "The Man" Taylor. He was a 23-year-old artist signed to Columbia Records and went on to release several R&B songs including "Walkin', Talkin', Kissin' Doll" and "Sundown.

He was inspired by Sammy Davis Jr. “He did all the things I wanted to do,” Brown said in a 1996 interview. “I wanted to be a well-rounded, complete entertainer; I didn’t just want to sing or tell a joke.”

Later in his career, Brown became a nightclub promoter and performer and eventually rose to fame as a frequent cast member on the variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Then he won the role of Bookman on Good Times.

His acting career continued in the 1980s and 1990s as he made guest appearances in various Black sitcoms including Family Matters, Sister, Sister, The Jamie Foxx Show, The Wayans Brothers, and Martin.

He also made several appearances in TV commercials including ones for Hunt's Manwich and the Write Brothers pen, a 1970s Papermate pen company short-lived product.

Sadly, in March 2022, Brown passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 84. He reportedly passed out right after leaving a doctor's appointment for his pacemaker and was declared dead when he arrived to the hospital.