J. J. STARBUCK/NBC/1987-88
*(Ben Vereen/costar) E. L. Turner, aka "Tenspeed" a black ex-con hustler who
became the sidekick (in February 1988) of Jerome Jeremiah Starbuck, a white San
Antonio billionaire. The Tenspeed character originally appeared on the 1980
detective drama TENSPEED AND BROWN SHOE.
THE JACK BENNY SHOW/CBS/NBC/1950-65
**(Eddie Anderson) Rochester, the raspy-voiced valet to comedian Jack Benny,
"the cheapest man in the world". In April 1937, Jack Benny needed a Pullman
porter for a single appearance on his radio program. He hired vaudeville/movie
performer Eddie Anderson and the writers gave him the name Rochester Van Jones.
His immediate popularity guaranteed his success for the next twenty plus years
as a reliable fixture of Benny's act. During a 1950's episode, Jack Benny
recalled the first time that he met Rochester. It seems that Jack Benny crashed
into a cab owned by Amos Jones and Andy Brown of the Sunshine Cab Company (it
was up on a grease rack at the time). In an attempt to get out of paying any
compensation for the accident, both Amos and Andy convinced Jack that he needed
a valet and left their driver Rochester with him. The rest is history. Anderson
quit Benny after having a heart attack while rehearsing for THE JACK BENNY SHOW
in the late 1950's. He died 2/28/77.
*(Jackée) Sandra Clark, the sassy, man-chasing black female from comedy series
221 who left Washington, D.C. to become an assistant manager at a health club in
New York City. The series was short-lived.
THE JACKIE THOMAS SHOW/ABC/1992-93
**(Michael Boatman) Grant Watson, black comedy writer and part of a team of
writers for the mythical "Jackie Thomas Show," America's top-rated comedy
series, about a white butcher.
THE JACKSON 5IVE/ABC/1971-73
*(Jackson Five) The Jackson Five, a black rock group, was the focus of these
fictional stories about the adventures of these talented pop singers. Jackson
Brothers Michael, Marlon, Jackie, Tito and Jermaine provided the voices on this
Saturday morning cartoon series.
*(The Jackson Family) The Jackson Family, popular black singers/entertainers
from Gary, Indiana (reportedly discovered in 1968 by black song stress Diana
Ross) were the stars of this musical variety that featured the singing talents
of brothers Jackie, Marlon, Tito, Michael, Randy, and sisters Maureen (Rebie),
LaToya, and Janet.
JAMES AT 15/NBC/1977-78
**(David Hubbard) "Sly" Ludwig Hazeltine, a hip, jive-talking black teenager who
befriended James Hunter, a white teenager who recently moved from Oregon to
THE JAMIE FOXX SHOW/WB/1996-2001
*(Jamie Foxx) Jamie King, an aspiring black stand-up comedian who heads to Los
Angeles to work in the King's Tower Hotel owned by his Aunt Helen King (Ellia
English) and his gambler Uncle Junior King (Garrett Morris). In between his
hotels duties, Jamie performs his comedy routines in the hotel lounge. Also
featured were Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon as gorgeous front-desk clerk Francesca
"Fancy" Monroe; Christopher B. Duncan as straight-arrow hotel accountant Braxton
P. Hartnabrig; and Andy Mark Berman as Bellman.
*(Sherman Hemsley/costar) George Jefferson, a hot-tempered owner of a chain of
New York dry cleaning stores, who lived in a high-rise apartment with his
ever-tolerant wife, Louise "Weezie" played by Isabel Sanford. George's favorite
hobby was making money and insulting people. He referred to white people as
“honkies.” Other cast members were Mike Evans (later Damon Evans) as their son,
Lionel; Zara Cully as George's doting mother, Mother Olivia Jefferson; Franklin
Cover as their "honky" white neighbor Tom Willis; Helen Willis, Tom's black
wife; (Tom & Helen were the first racially mixed married couple featured in
primetime); Berlinda Tolbert as Jenny Willis, their daughter; and Marla Gibbs as
the Jefferson's outspoken maid, Florence Johnston. In 1980 Lionel & Jenny's baby
girl (Jessica) is born. Unfortunately, Lionel & Jenny separated in 1981. In 1984
Ebonie Smith joined the cast as Jessica, Lionel and Jenny's now school-age
daughter. The Jefferson characters began on ALL IN THE FAMILY/CBS/1971-75 where
they lived on Houser Street in Queens next store to a blue-collar bigot, Archie
**(Darryl Thierse) Kurt, super-efficient, imperious black nurse who proves to be
the nemesis of the title character (Jesse) as they work together at a local
clinic in Buffalo, New York. Darryl Thierse was born and raised in Hempstead,
N.Y. before receiving his bachelor of arts diploma from Brown University and a
master of fine arts in theater..
THE JESSE JACKSON SHOW/SYN/1990-91/CNN/1992-93
*(Jesse Jackson) Jesse Jackson, black political activist and Reverend who
moderated this syndicated weekly talk show that discussed topics on political
and social significance. He previously starred on another CNN produced program
BOTH SIDES WITH JESSE JACKSON.
**(John Marshall Jones) Ray Wharton, black effete chef working at a restaurant
owned by Italian-American Stan Gennaro, whose brother Joe Gennaro helps out as a
chef in the evenings.
THE JOHN LARROQUETTE SHOW/NBC/1993-97
**(Chi McBride) Heavy Gene, a philosophical black janitor working the late shift
at the Crossroads, a run-down bus terminal in St. Louis. Also featured was Daryl
"Chill" Mitchell as Dexter Walker, a fellow employee who ran the station's lunch
counter and didn't especially like white folk; and Jimmy Walker as Dexter's
THE JOURNEY OF ALLEN STRANGE/NIK/1997-98
*(Arjay Smith) Allen Strange, a Xelan alien who takes on the form of a black
youth as he struggles to acclimate to Earth with the help of two white children.
*(Diahann Carroll) Julia Baker, a widowed black nurse (Air Force pilot husband
killed in Vietnam) who spent her time between working at a medical office at a
Los Angeles industrial clinic and raising her young son, Corey (played by Marc
Copage). Diahann Carroll was the first black female to star in her own comedy
series (one devoid of stereotypical overtones). Also featured were Paul Winfield
as Paul Cameron, Julia boyfriend (1969-70); Fred Williamson as Julie's widower
boyfriend, Steve Bruce (1970-71); and Eugene Jackson as Julia's Uncle Lou.
||[on the telephone] I’m colored. I’m a Negro.
||Have you always been a Negro, or are you just
trying to be fashionable?
JUST OUR LUCK/ABC/1983
*(T. K. Carter/costar) Shabu, a hip, black genie-in-a-bottle with a bent toward
practical jokes who was discovered by a young, white TV reporter. According to
T. K. Carter "Shabu doesn't have a master because he doesn't believe in
master....I made it clear that I won't do that jive routine, acting like some
cat in a black El Dorado, drinking a Kool-Aid daiquiri with a hat as big as a
house....When Shabu pops out of the bottle, he's wearing a Bill Blass raw silk
suit. You're not going to see me wearing a lot of jewelry and stuff." After the
program aired, The NAACP intervened with the show's development insisting on
such changes as the concept of "Master" and "servant" being dropped; the
inclusion of additional black script writers and an extra black actor to appear
on the cast, namely, Leonard Simon as Jim Dexter. Despite all the efforts to
make this show click, the series was canceled after eleven episodes.
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