John Amos, Jr., was born in Newark, the son of Annabelle P. and John A. Amos, Sr., who was an auto mechanic. He graduated from East Orange High School in 1958.
He enrolled at Long Beach City College and graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in sociology. Amos played on the Colorado State Rams football team and was also a Golden Gloves boxing champion. In 1964, he signed a free agent contract with the American Football League’s Denver Broncos. Unable to run the 40 yard dash because of a pulled hamstring, he was released on the second day of training camp. He then played with Joliet Explorers of the United Football League. In 1965 he played with the Norfolk Neptunes and Wheeling Ironmen of the Continental Football League. In 1966 he played with the Jersey City Jets and Waterbury Orbits of the Atlantic Coast Football League. In 1967, he had signed a free agent contract with the American Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs where he was released from training camp. He returned to the Continental League where he played that year with the Victoria Steelers.
Amos is perhaps best known for playing characters Gordy Howard (the weatherman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show) from 1970 until 1973 and James Evans, Sr. the husband of Florida Evans appearing three times on the sitcom Maude before continuing the role in 61 episodes of Good Times from 1974 to 1976.
The rest is Hollywood history.
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