Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Actor and Musician Johnny Brown Has Died at 84

The star of stage and screen was most famous for his performance in Broadway's Golden Boy and sitcom Good Times.

Actor and Musician Johnny Brown Has Died at 84

According to a Deadline article, Broadway veteran, musician, and screen actor Johnny Brown has died from unreleased causes. The news was announced in an Instagram post by his daughter, Sharon Catherine Brown. She stated, "Our family is devastated. Devastated. Devastated. Beyond heartbroken. Barely able to breathe."

She continues, writing, "We respectfully ask for privacy at this time because we need a minute to process the unthinkable. To articulate the depths of profound sadness.This is my mom's husband for sixty one years, mine and JJ's dad, Elijah and Levi's Pop Pop, older brother to George and brother in law to Pat and extended family to Chris, Hihat, Damian and Derell. It's too terrible. It will never not be. It's a shock. He was literally snatched out of our lives. It's not real for us yet. So there will be more to say but not now. Dad was the absolute best. We love him so very much."

While the actor was most famous for his role as Nathan Bookman on the television show "Good Times," he got his start by winning the Apollo Theatre's amateur night. That win launched his career, helping him secure a job at a nightclub performer alongside tap dance legend Gregory Hines, Jr. He also performed alongside a woman, June, who soon became his wife.

Brown was taken under Sammy Davis Jr.'s wing, a relationship that helped him become the understudy for the role of Ronnie for the Broadway production of "Golden Boy." He soon stepped up when the original actor, Godrey Cambridge, was let go. The show was a massive success and ran over 500 performances. He performed again on Broadway in 1968 in the Sidney Poitier directed Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights. He also performed in Los Angeles in Neil Simon's The Out of Towners at the playwright's specific request.

The actor moved into television and film, performing in Julia, Maude, The Rookies, Lotsa Luck!, The Jeffersons, Archie Bunker's Place, Family Matters, The Leslie Uggams Show, Sister, Sister, Moonlighting and Martin, and was in such films as The Wiz, A Man Called Adam, Poitier's Hanky Panky, Life, and Town & Country.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Sharon Catherine Brown's Instagram tribute

Related Stories

More Hot Stories For You

Sony Classical Releases The Boston Symphony Chamber Players' Complete RCA Victor Recordings, August 26
August 10, 2022

It was inevitable that the Boston Symphony – hailed as “The Aristocrat of Orchestras” in the early '60s by RCA Victor, its long-time record company – would spin off an ensemble from its elite roster of principals.

Diablo Ballet Announces 2022-2023 29th Season
August 10, 2022

Artistic Director Lauren Jonas has announced Diablo Ballet's 2022 - 2023 performance season featuring the Company premiere of Confetti by Gerald Arpino, which will be presented as part of his Centennial Celebration to honor what would have been his 100th birthday.

Sixth Annual SONGWRITERS IN PARADISE Cabo Unveils Artist Lineup
August 10, 2022

On the heels of the wildly successful launch of Songwriters in Paradise Healdsburg, an experience that featured 4 nights at some of Sonoma County's best wineries SIP is thrilled to reveal the musical lineup for the sixth annual SIP CABO, taking place November 30 - December 3, 2022 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Former Rhode Island Philharmonic Music Director Larry Rachleff Has Passed Away
August 10, 2022

Larry Rachleff, former Music Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, passed away on  August 8th in Houston, TX. He served as Music Director from 1996-2017 and conducted his final  concerts with the orchestra in May 2017, his farewell as Music Director. That concert featured his wife, mezzo-soprano Susan Lorette Dunn. 

The Crossing Presents Shara Nova's TITRATION, August 13
August 10, 2022

Grammy Award-winning choir The Crossing gives the Philadelphia premiere performance of Shara Nova's TITRATION at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill this Saturday, August 13, 2022 at 4:00pm. The new work delves into feelings of joy, rage, and determination, told through songs by singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Shara Nova—the composer of one of The Crossing's acclaimed Carols after a Plague, also known for her work as My Brightest Diamond.