Did you grow up watching Good Times? You’ll remember one of the Evans’ children, daughter Thelma – played by Bern Nadette Stanis. Thelma Evans was one of the favorite characters on the show and Bern Nadette Stanis became a huge star from her role on the show.
Decades after the show ended, she’s still making public appearances to discuss her life and career – and, of course, her experience working on Good Times. But what happened to Bern Nadette Stanis after Good Times? It was the only show where she had a major role after all.
And how did she land the role of Thelma Evans? What was her life like after the popular show came to an end?
Let’s look back at Bern Nadette Stanis’s life and career and what she’s up to today…
Bern Nadette Stanis was born on December 22, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were immigrants from the West Indies and their daughter was blessed with the Caribbean beauty that she’s still complimented for today!
As a teenager she participated in the Miss Black America pageant and won the title of Miss Brooklyn. After finishing up high school, she attended the Julliard School – eager to becoming a professional entertainer!
No doubt, her acting ability, dancing skills, and her natural beauty ensured that she’d have a successful career in show business.
It wouldn’t be too long until she made her debut, and she certainly didn’t have to wait long to become a star.
In her early twenties, she learned about a new TV show that was being produced by famed producer Norman Lear. The show featured spinoff characters from the TV show Maude – James and Florida Evans.
The show revolved around a working-class black family who struggled to get through life but managed to stick together while living in Chicago’s South Side. The family would have one daughter.
The show’s creators were looking for a fresh face to audition for the daughter, Thelma Evans. Bern Nadette Stanis wanted to audition for the role – despite not having a single acting credit to her name!
She recalls that a few days after the audition, she came home to see her mother sitting on the sofa. Her mother looked at her and gave her the fantastic news that she had won the role of Thelma!
And she never looked back after that…
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Bern Nadette Stanis played Thelma Evans on Good Times – which also starred John Amos as James Evans, Esther Rolle as Florida Evans, Jimmie Walker as JJ Evans, and Ralph Carter as Michael Evans.
All these actors became stars from the show and are still remembered for the characters they immortalized from the show. While it was her first role, Thelma Evans would become the role that Bern Nadette Stanis would be best known for.
The show ran from 1974 to 1979 for a total of 133 episodes. Bern Nadette Stanis appeared in all but one of these episodes. Through the show, she not only got a chance to show off her acting abilities but there were a few episodes where she also got to showcase her dancing abilities.
And, of course, her beauty was one of the highlights of the show. She became one of the most famous TV stars in the country and it wasn’t long until she began appearing in photoshoots for popular magazines.
Good Times went through many cast changes and even a few controversies. James Evans was killed off the show due to John Amos’s disagreements with the direction of the show. There were a few episodes when Esther Rolle left the show as she disliked the direction of the show – particularly the buffoonery of the eldest son JJ – which she found to be a negative stereotype.
However, Bern Nadette Stanis kept out of these arguments and focused on her role as Thelma. After the show ended, her popularity continued, and she appeared in cameo roles in other popular shows such as The Love Boat and What’s Happening!!
But Good Times would always remain the role that she was best known for. To this day, she gives interviews about the show and remembers her time on it fondly.
Following the end of Good Times, Bern Nadette Stanis continued to make guest appearances on popular TV shows. She and Jimmie Walker also appeared on an AT & T radio commercial – reprising their roles as Thelma and JJ Evans.
In 1997, she re-appeared as Thelma Evans in an episode of The Wayans Bros – that parodied an episode of Good Times. In this episode, she was reunited with some of her former Good Times co-stars such as Johnny Brown – who played Bookman.
It was clear that even as the new millennium approached, the character of Thelma Evans was as famous as ever. It also showed that as a new generation of black entertainers came of age – Bern Nadette Stanis’s contribution to black American entertainment was indisputable.
She appeared in other guest roles on popular shows that featured predominantly black American casts. These included appearing on an episode of The Good News, The Parent Hood, and Black Jesus. She also appeared as herself on an episode of Girlfriends in 2003.
In 2019, she re-united with her Good Times cast members Jimmie Walker and Ja’Nette Dubois for In Front of a Live Studio Audience: Good Times – hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The audience roared and applauded when she appeared on stage. Forty years after Good Times came to an end – people still wanted to see Thelma!
But this certainly wasn’t the last TV appearance or the last acting gig by Bern Nadette Stanis! The same year, she also appeared in a supporting role in the TV movie The Big Shot. In 2021, she appeared in the short film Dreams from the Edge and in 2022 she appeared in the first episode of the 4th season of the TV series The Family Business.
She’s also playing “Aunt Thelma” in the upcoming feature film CHAAW – which also stars Jimmie Walker and Ralph Carter!!
A mention should be made of the film career that Bern Nadette focused on in the 2000s. She appeared in the films Land of the Free?, The Adventures of Umbekwi, N-Secure, Caution Heartache Ahead, and No Regrets. She also appeared in the TV movie Momma and Me and in an episode of the TV series Whatcha’ Cookin’.
WHAT SHE’S UP TO TODAY
Bern Nadette Stanis is just as busy as she’s ever been, and fans are eager to see her in CHAAW – which we’ll hopefully see later in 2022.
But it’s not just acting that she’s been involved in. Bern Nadette Stanis has used her talents in other fields as well. She’s a motivational speaker and often helps with inspiring others to improve their self-esteem and follow their dreams. She often speaks at philanthropic events as well. She’s been involved with raising awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease after her mother sadly succumbed to the illness.
She also wrote a book called Situations 101 which helps people manage their interpersonal relationships and handle conflicts. She’s also a mother to 2 children and has 1 grandchild.
While she keeps herself busy with acting, writing, and speaking – she hasn’t forgotten the show that made her famous. She often gives interviews about the show and is happy that so many fans still love Good Times and that Thelma Evans remains in the hearts of many fans to this day!
She maintains a website called ThelmaFromGoodTimes.com where she interacts with fans. On her website, you can learn about her acting career as well as her professional speaking career. She even gives fans a chance to communicate with her directly if they’re seeking advice!
She can be booked for interview appearances as well as speaking gigs. She’s also very active on social media and fondly interacts with fans and shares her memories of her acting career – particularly her work on Good Times.
Bern Nadette Stanis has truly come a long way from her rather humble beginnings. Her life is one of contestant re-invention and perseverance. She won a beauty pageant in her teens and then managed to become one of American television’s biggest stars. She juggled this with modeling photoshoots and continued to act in film and television after Good Times came to an end.
Now, she’s as busy as ever – you may catch her on the small screen or on the big screen. Or you might see her at a convention discussing her career or on a stage giving a talk. And of course, you can always reach out to her on the internet – you might be lucky to get a reply!
So, if you wondered what happened to Bern Nadette Stanis – now you know – she’s still around and she’s not going anywhere anytime soon! Let her life be an inspiration to anyone who wishes to follow their dreams and help others!
Now, let’s hear from you:
Are you a fan of Bern Nadette Stanis?
In fact, here’s what we’d like to know:
Wouldn’t it have been nice for Bern Nadette Stanis to have landed another major TV role following Good Times?
Or do you think that audiences wouldn’t be able to see her as any character but Thelma Evans?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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