Esther Rolle (November 8, 1920 – November 17, 1998) was the tenth child of eighteen children born to Bahamian immigrants. She is best known for her role as Florida Evans on the sitcom “Maude” and the spin-off series, “Good Times,” from (1974–77, 1978–79).
Her only marriage was to Oscar Robinson, from 1955–1975. No children were born to this union; however, Robinson fathered a daughter in a prior relationship.
Did you know, she was 19-years older than her TV husband, John Amos and had to fight for the father/husband character on Good Times?
She would later become unhappy after the JJ character played by Jimmie Walker took the show in what she considered a frivolous direction. Co-star and TV husband, Amos agreed with that sentiment and was fired after the third season.
After an intense stand-off with producer Norman Lear, Rolle would later quit at the end of season four once her contract expired.
She was the first woman to receive the NAACP Chairman’s Civil Rights Leadership award for her role in helping advance the images of Blacks in media.
Esther Rolle died at the age of 78 from complication with Diabetes. In 1998, her estate was valued at an estimated $1.7 million which included a $400,000 home, $200,000 in cash, over $1 million in treasury bonds, and various stock shares.
This Black History Month, we salute Esther Rolle.
Tags: Esther Rolle, Good Times, Florida Evans, John Amos, Jimmie Walker, Norman Lear