Earlier this week, the African-American TV icon Bern Nadette Stanis celebrated her 69th birthday anniversary just three days before Christmas. The Good Times actress has played a lead role in dozens of television series and films over the past five decades, but was best known for being the face of Black America on TV in the decade following the Civil Rights Movement.

She has since become a well-renowned author and motivational speaker and enjoys an eventful life with her long-time husband Kevin Fontana.

Born Bernadette Stanislaus on December 22, 1953, Stanis grew up in Brooklyn with a family of Afro-Grenadian ancestry. Her hard work in high school paid off and the young Black girl in the ‘60s managed to secure an admission to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City.

As a student, Stanis participated and made name in Miss Black America beauty pageants, eventually securing the title of Miss Brooklyn before deciding to choose acting as her primary career.

In this regard, Stanis quickly became one of the leading young Black voices on TV with her starring role in the CBS family sitcom ‘Good Times’, which ran from 1974-1979. In the show, she played ‘Thelma’, the only daughter of a middle-aged Black couple Florida and James Evans Sr.

Stanis later capitalized on her notoriety as ‘Thelma’ to appear on several TV series, including, “What’s Happening Now!!” (1985) and “The Cosby Show” (1991), as well as several movies starting in 2000. Her most noted recent interviews include those in February 2010 on Color TV and in July 2016 on Centric’s Being.

Stanis has also appeared in many advertisement campaigns, but almost completely kept out of the music industry.

Bern Nadette Stanis has also authored four books in the last twenty years. Her most notable work is the duo titled Situation 101. A collection of her poetry was published under the name: For Men Only. Many of her motivational lectures are available online, and she is now often branded as “Thelma of Good Times”.

Stanis has been married four times in her life. Her first marriage, a private union with the high school boyfriend Thomas Fauntleroy, lasted four years. Afterwards, Stanis briefly married Darnell Johnson of Brooklyn, and mechanical engineer Terrence Redd, before settling down with Kevin Fontana for the long haul.

Stanis currently resides in Atlanta with her husband and two daughters, Dior Ravel (with Redd) and Brittany Rose (with Fontana).

Lou George Jr. better known as Bowlegged Lou, Actor/ Musical Artist from the group Full Force posted this video on Stanis on her Birthday from his youtube page.

Featured image: Get TV

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Anthony Tilghman, is an 3x Award-winning Photojournalist, Education advocate, Mentor, and Published Author with years of experience in media, photography, marketing and branding. He is the Winner of the 2020, 2021 & 2023 Dateline award for Excellence in Local Journalism.


Anthony Tilghman

Anthony Tilghman, is an 3x Award-winning Photojournalist, Education advocate, Mentor, and Published Author with years of experience in media, photography, marketing and branding. He is the Winner of the...

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