John Allen Amos Jr. (born December 27, 1939) is an American actor known for his role as James Evans, Sr. , on the CBS television series Good Times and for the 1977 miniseries Roots, for which he received an Emmy nomination. Amos's other television work includes The Mary Tyler Moore Show and a recurring role as Admiral Percy Fitzwallace on The West Wing. In the 1988 Eddie Murphy film Coming to America, Amos played Cleo McDowell, the father of Shari Headley's character, Lisa McDowell. Amos has appeared on Broadway and in numerous films in his four-decade career. He has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and an NAACP Image Award.