Mike Evans almost played J.J. in ''Good Times'' — but the producers refused because of ''All in the Family''

If you're a good enough actor, one good role will lead to an even better role, and so on. But for Mike Evans, his acting ability in a previous role cost him a future one.

You might know that, in addition to playing Lionel Jefferson on All in the Family, Evans is also responsible for co-creating the show Good Times. Like All in the Family before it, Good Times was a family-centric sitcom, except it focused on Florida and James Evans and their children.

In the wild, loopy timeline that is the Norman Lear Universe, Good Times is technically related to All in the Family somehow; The series began as a spinoff of the series Maude, a character that got her own spinoff because of her warm welcome by fans during her appearance as Cousin Maude in All in the Family.

Evans created the series with writer Eric Monte and actually wrote for the series as well. But originally, he had much bigger plans for the series. According to an interview with The Tennessean, Evans was hoping to play the role of J.J. Evans, but the producers refused, with the article stating that they argued: "Mike had already built up a solid identity as Lionel." The role was eventually given to Jimmie Walker instead.

Plenty of actors can develop identities as multiple characters, so why the producers refused to let Evans try might forever remain a mystery. Moreover, Evans revealed later in an interview with the Hartford Courant that the character of J.J. was based on him as a child. He said, "It was me as a kid — except he [Walker] is tall and skinny. I was short and fat, and when you're built like that as a kid you're either ostracized completely, or you talk a lot to overcome any lack of confidence."

Still, the actor was eventually able to get the best of both worlds when The Jeffersons were given their series, and Evans was able to reprise his role as Lionel Jefferson, centerstage.