Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Place of Death
Malibu, California, USA
Claim to Fame
The Flip Wilson Show
Profile Bio Text
Clerow Wilson Jr., known professionally as Flip Wilson, (December 8, 1933 – November 25, 1998) was an American comedian and actor. Time magazine featured his image on their cover and named him "TV`s first black superstar". Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, he was one of 18 children in an impoverished household. After years of bouncing from foster homes to reform school, 16-year-old Wilson lied about his age and joined the United States Air Force. His outgoing personality and funny stories made him popular; he was even asked to tour military bases to cheer up other servicemen. Claiming that he was always "flipped out", Wilson`s barracks mates gave him his famous nickname. Discharged in 1954, Wilson started working as a bellhop in San Francisco`s Manor Plaza Hotel. At the Plaza`s nightclub, Wilson found extra work playing a drunken patron in between regularly scheduled acts. His inebriated character proved popular and Wilson began performing it in clubs throughout California. He managed to get jobs at various comedy clubs using his nickname, Flip. At first Wilson would simply ad-lib on-stage, but in time, he added written material and his act became more sophisticated.
During the 1960s, Wilson became a regular at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and was a favorite guest on The Tonight Show, Laugh-In, and The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1970, Wilson got his own television program, The Flip Wilson Show, debuting on NBC. He played host to many African-American entertainers and performed in comedy sketches. He greeted all his guests with the "Flip Wilson Handshake," which started with hand slaps and progressed to hip-bumps. George Carlin was one of the show`s writers along with him. His characters included Reverend Leroy, pastor of the Church of What’s Happening Now; and his most popular character, Geraldine, whose line “The devil made me do it” became a national expression. In 1970, Wilson won a Grammy Award for his comedy album The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress. After winning custody of his children in 1979, Wilson performed less in order to spend time with his family. Before becoming ill, he was an active lighter-than-air pilot. He died from complications due to liver cancer in Malibu,CA, at the age of 64. He was cremated. Wilson`s ashes were given to his family.
Couple Profile Source
Full Name at Birth
Clerow Wilson Jr.
Writer, Actor/Actress, Producer
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Flip Wilson (December 8, 1933 â€“ November 25, 1998) was an African American comedian and actor. In the early 1970s, Wilson hosted his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show. The series earned Wilson a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards.
Cause of Death
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