Rising from the streets of New York’s ghettos to television superstardom, Jimmie Walker personifies the great American success story. His catch phrase “Dyn-o-mite!” is part of the modern vernacular, and he became such a major celebrity in the 1970’s that Time Magazine named him “Comedian of the Decade.”
Spotted by the casting director for Norman Lear of “All in the Family” fame, Jimmie accepted a part in Lear’s new urban-styled comedy series, “Good Times.” The role of the broadly strutting, wisecracking J.J. Evans would launch him into television superstardom. “Dyn-o-mite!” was the phrase that made him famous nationwide. As “Good Times” enjoyed a six year run, Walker’s fame grew exponentially. He was the first winner of the NAACP Image Award, and won a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He appeared on “The Mac Davis Show,” “Donny and Marie,” “The John Davidson Show,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” “Dinah,” “The Mike Douglas Show,” “The Hollywood Squares,” and the “Match Game.” Clothing, tee-shirts and even a talking doll that blurted out his signature catch phrase were soon on store shelves everywhere.
Even with his demanding schedule, Jimmie continued to appear as the headliner at top comedy clubs, including the world famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles. His joke writing team included a young David Letterman, Jay Leno and Byron Allen.
Walker’s television work would lead to movie roles, like boxer Bootney Farnsworth in “Let’s Do it Again,” co-starring with entertainment luminaries Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby. Jimmie also released a smash comedy album, “Dyn-o-mite!” that went gold. When “Good Times” ended in 1979, Aaron Spelling offered Walker a starring role in the short-lived “B.A.D. Cats” and returned to cast him again in 1983 in “At Ease”, an ABC series about a bunch of United States Army misfits. He also landed choice roles in films like “Airplane!” and “Airport ’79”, and was a regular on television shows like “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island”. In recent years he’s made scene-stealing appearances on “The George Lopez Show”, “Everybody Hates Chris” with Chris Rock, and “Scrubs”.
But despite all Jimmie’s success on the big and small screens, stand-up comedy remains his first love. Walker currently tours the country 35 to 45 weeks a year performing live, and guesting on game shows and late night television. In his spare time he writes scripts for TV and movies, and continues to enjoy a comedy career now approaching five decades.