Jimmie Walker

As the lanky, comically over-confident eldest son, J.J., on the popular sitcom "Good Times," (CBS, 1973-79), Jimmie Walker was one of the first African-American comics to achieve mainstream success. His run on the popular 1970s sitcom went beyond mere celebrity and transformed the actor into a cultural icon, thanks in large part to his catchphrase "Dy-No-Mite!" which became permanently etched in the public's consciousness, despite Walker's initial reservations in using it. Though he was embraced by white audiences, Walker was the subject of strong criticism from the black community, many of whom felt his character was cartoonish and insulting, particularly because the show centered on a poor inner-city family struggling to get by in a Chicago ghetto. His outlandish depiction of blacks on the show led to tension both on and off the set, causing cast members to air their frustrations in public. Nonetheless, Walker relished an ongoing recognition beyond his "Good Time" years, though he failed to reach that height of popularity ever again.