The “it” girl Thelma brings Good Times to the Festiv

Actress Bernnadette Stanis, who played Thelma Evans in the famous sitcom “Good Times,” will be a very special guest during the African/Caribbean 16th International Festival of Life. Ephraim Martin, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, told the Defender that Sta

“It is my objective to present her as a wonderful young girl who walked in her community in loveliness.” Martin said. “And while here, she will try to inspire women and the future generations to be wonderful mothers and ladies.” Many remember Stanis as the lovely teenage girl who lived in housing projects with her father James (John Amos) and mother Florida Evans (Esther Rolle).

Then, of course, there was those bickering brother and sister battles with “dynamite” J.J., (Jimmy Walker), and Michael (Ralph Carter). "Good Times" was the creation of Eric Monte’s childhood friend and co-creator, Mike Evans. Though the family faced hard times, the parents exercised their best wisdom in raising their children.

The sitcom had a great mixture of comedy and drama, often tackling tough issues, which made the show very popular. "Good Times" was one of Norman Lear’s best television sitcoms. It was this television show that earned Stanis international fame. The television show aired Feb. 8, 1974 and continued until August 1, 1979, which was a spin-off from another television show entitled "Maude."

Stanis was in her early 20s when she signed with CBS-TV to take the role of Thelma in "Good Times." When the Norman Lear-produced sitcom ended, Stanis went on to appear in many other television shows, including "The Cosby Show" and "What’s Happening Now!" Stanis and Walker were utilized in radio commercials for AT&T.

She was featured in a National Insurance commercial. With her magnetic personality, she appeared in the UPN sitcom "Girlfriends." While Stanis may not be on the screen much now, she has had time to write her literary testimony about the triumphant victories she has experienced in her life.

Her new book documents her search for hope and the frank simplicity of struggles between evil and righteousness. As an actress and writer, she has been kept busy answering requests to relate in person her experiences by speaking nationally before ethnic and non-ethnic forums, and fortunately Situations 101 appeals to elementary schools, magnet schools, fine art departments, as well as colleges and universities.

Many organizations have invited author and actress Stanis to speak, lecture and participate in their programs, including the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference and the Travis Smiley Health Fair just to name a few.

Earl Calloway can be reached via e-mail at

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