On this day in comedy on November, 8, 1920 Actress, Esther Elizabeth Rolle was born in Pompano Beach, FL.
Prior to getting into the comedy business, Rolle attended Yale University, was the director of the Asadata Dafora’s dance troupe and appeared in theater productions with titles such as, “The Blacks”, “The Crucible” and “Blues for Mr. Charlie”. Not exactly the happy-go-lucky stuff of a comedienne. That didn’t come along until the role of Florida Evans, the maid of Maude (1972-1974) and a spin-off of that show, Good Times (1974-79).
Good Times made her a household name, but she vacated those households when she found the character of her television son, JJ Evans (Jimmie Walker) to be a tad bit too degrading for her taste and left the show. Her post Good Times career consisted of guest starring roles, made-for-TV-movies and even a psychic hotline. Cinematically, Rolle is best remembered as Aunt Sarah in the 1997 film, “Rosewood”. She worked until her death of complications caused by diabetes in 1998 at the age of 78.
Rolle was nominated for the Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy Golden Globe Award for her role in Good Times in 1975 and in 1979 she won an Emmy for her role in Summer of My German Soldier, a made-for-television movie.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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