Tuesday 16 April 2024

The First Black Female Regular Teenager Character on National Television

Bernnadette Stanis, also billed as Bern Nadette Stanis (born Bernadette Stanislaus, December 22, 1953), is an American actress, a dancer, and an author. Stanis is best known for her role as Thelma Evans, the only daughter of Florida and James Evans Sr. on the CBS sitcom Good Times which originally ran from 1974 to 1979. Stanis is the author of four books: Situations 101: Relationships, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly; For Men Only; Situations 101: Finances; and The Last Night.

One of five children, Stanis was born and raised in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York City. Her paternal grandparents were from Carriacou in the Grenadine Islands. At the age of five, her grandmother took her to tap dance lessons where she began performing.

She began acting after a play she was in during high school entitled "The Three Faces of Eve." She graduated with honors from Erasmus High School and was accepted to Julliard School of Performing Arts where she received her B.A. in Drama. As a teen, Stanis entered Miss Black America pageants, and went on to become Miss Brooklyn, a title with which she became first runner-up in the Miss New York state pageant.

Bern Nadette was picked out to read for the role of Thelma in "Good Times" while she was competing in the Miss New York beauty pageant. Stanis played the role of Thelma Ann Evans on the CBS sitcom Good Times from February 1974 to August 1979. After the series ended, she made appearances on television shows including The Cosby Show, What's Happening Now!!, The Wayans Bros., The Parent 'Hood, and Girlfriends.

She and former co-star Jimmie Walker lent their voices to a radio spot for AT&T, and Stanis went on to do a Nationwide Insurance commercial. Stanis has been featured in promotions for the TV One network, and in a "Thelma" promotion that aired September 19, 2009, alongside actress Anna Maria Horsford in the "Battle of the Thelmas" that aired their weddings from their respective TV series. (Horsford portrayed "Thelma Frye" in the TV series Amen.) During the "Way Black Then" promotions in February 2010 in honor of Black History Month, she and Walker appeared on the program Color TV to share their memories and thoughts on Good Times. She later appeared on the TV One show Life After. In July 2016, Stanis appeared on an episode of Centric's Being, discussing her life and career.

She currently plays Nee Nee Duncan on The Family Business (TV Series).

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