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Why Did John Amos Leave The Good Times?

John Amos Credit: Rob Kim/ Getty Images
John Amos Credit: Rob Kim/ Getty Images

John Amos plays the role of the patriarch in the series Good Times. This sitcom is important in American Television history as it is the first-ever African American two-parent family sitcom. And as the main cast, the role of the patriarch played by John Amos is equally important as well. 

The show Good Times is the story of Evan’s Family. It is a spin-off from the show Maude which is a spin-off of the TV show All in the Family. Maude is a sitcom portraying the life of an outspoken middle-aged woman. All in the family, the main show of these two spin-offs is based on a British sitcom titled ‘Till Death Do us part. 

Florida Evan is a character who appears on Maude as a maid. When the creators decided to do a spin-off of the show, they decided to make a few changes. They Changed Florida’s husband’s name, which was mentioned in the show as Henry, to James. The Character appears three times in the show Maude before he gets his own show with the Good Times. John Amos the one who played the Character of James Evan, the hardworking and proud head of the family.

Good Times Poster Credit: CBC via Getty Images

Good Times Poster Credit: CBC via Getty Images

Amos’s role as James is not only memorable but important too. It was the first time in television history a black family was portrayed as the main cast for a sitcom show, so to be the father and the main character was indeed an essential role for him. 

Who is James Evan From The Good Place?

James and Florida (played by Ester Rolle) are in Chicago with their three children. They come from a poor black neighborhood. They live in a Public housing project. They struggle to make ends meet, and the show mainly focuses on how they live amidst this poverty. 

James Evans often had to work two or more jobs at the same time. Most of the job he does is physical labor which includes working in construction. Despite his poverty and unemployment, he is a hardworking man, and he does not want any charity. He is proud and tries his best to work hard along with his wife so that they both can provide for their family. 

What Happened To James From The Good Times?

A Still From Good Times Credit : CBC via Getty Images

A Still From Good Times Credit: CBC via Getty Images

The show “Good Times” premiered on 8th February 1947. Then it ran for six seasons till August 1, 1979, but John Amos was only in the first three seasons. His Character as the father and the head of the family was one of the main casts in the show. 

He appeared in 61 episodes. This character bid farewell from the show at the beginning of the fourth season. The writer decided to kill his Character James Evans. He died due to a car accident while traveling to Mississippi. 

This was such an abrupt move. This plot development received a lot of criticism from the viewers. At the time of this event, nothing much was known as to why they killed him off from the show; years later, John Amos himself revealed the real reason why he had to leave the show.

Why Did John Amos Leave the Show Good Times?

A Still From Good Times Credit : CBC via Getty Images

A Still From Good Times Credit: CBC via Getty Images

There were many rumors as to why John Amos left the show. Some of them include his dispute with the producers regarding his contract. The real reason was only revealed in 2015. John Amos gave an interview with the Archive of American Television. In this three-hour-long interview, he said the reason for his abrupt exit from the show.

The real reason for his Character being killed off was because of the disagreement with the show producers regarding the content. The first child, James Evan jr, called J.J., was given more importance and screen time, while the two other children, who were more ambitious and had more personality than him, were given less importance. 

J.J. is comic relief, he is a silly teenager who can make a good laugh from the audience, and he is popular. Amos said this in the interview with the Archive of American Television, “There was too much emphasis being put on J.J and his chicken hat saying ‘Dynomite!’ every third page”. 

Amos was worried that this silly teenager would portray a negative image for the African American community when they could focus on the other two children, who have much more personality than him. 

His problem with the writers not understanding the reality of what it is like to be An African American and their culture was also one of the reasons for his departure. He believed that the writer in the show was not diverse enough to handle the accurate portrayal of An African American family, and that too for the first time in the sitcom’s history. 

Did John Amos Get Fired From The Good Times?

A Still From Good Times Credit : CBC via Getty Images

A Still From Good Times Credit: CBC via Getty Images

Yes, John Amos was, in fact, fired from the show. When it comes to expressing his opinions, Amos doesn’t shy away. This eventually got him fired. He was dissatisfied with the way some stereotypes were handled in the show. He did not want that to happen, but when he decided to open his mouth, he got fired. 

In an interview with Jet Magazine, Via Yahoo! Finance, the actor said that “Norman Lear called me a month ago and told me my option ( with Good Times) was not being picked up” he then continued to say that “That’s the same as being fired. Sure I want to do my thing in films, but not at the expense of my job.”

A season later, Amos’ onscreen partner Florida Evan aka Esther Rolle, also left the show, citing the same reason. 

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