Johnny Brown, the comedian and actor who broke out on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” in the early 1970s and then played apartment-building superintendent Nathan Bookman on the sitcom “Good Times,” died Wednesday at age 84.
Brown’s daughter Sharon Catherine Brown shared the news Friday via 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 wrote. No further details about his death were available.
Brown got his start as a singer in the late 1950s, touring with saxophonist Sam “The Man” Taylor and releasing singles such as “Walkin’ Talkin’, Kissin’ Doll” in 1961 through Columbia Records.
In the 1960s, he appeared in two Broadway shows — “Golden Boy” and “Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights” — and picked up guest spots on TV shows such as “The Leslie Uggams Show,” “Julia” and “Love, American Style” before he was tapped as a series regular on “Laugh-In” in 1970.
There, he earned a reputation for his broad facial expressions and easy-going joke-telling style.
He joined the Chicago-set Norman Lear-produced sitcom “Good Times” in its second season as Bookman, the superintendent of the Evans family’s housing project, whose plus-size stature became the butt of many jokes. He continued in the role until the series ended in 1979.
Later credits include appearances in “The Wayans Brothers,” “The Parent ‘Hood,” “Kenan & Kel” and “Everybody Hates Chris.”