November 25, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- In 1970, the news was filled through anti-war demonstrations and also black power. Top top the nation"s TV screens, flip Wilson put on a wig and a minidress and became Geraldine, who screeched: "What you view is what friend get!" that wasn"t a spokesman for race issues, yet Wilson broke racial barriers, ending up being the an initial black host of a peak television range show. Wilson died Wednesday, November 25, 1998 that liver cancer in ~ his Malibu home with his daughter, Michelle, by his side, said Angie Hill, the comedian"s assistant. He was 64. Wilson had actually undergone surgical treatment October second at St. John"s Hospital and also Health center in Santa Monica because that a malignant tumor the was close come his liver. The male who offered the world Geraldine and also the catch phrase "the devil made me perform it!" crossed every lines v his comedy, said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who stated he had actually known the comedian due to the fact that the 1970s. "Flip was a breakthrough artist for African-Americans," Jackson stated Thursday in a call interview. "He led with a brand of comedy that was clean and also decent and also not vulgar. Come the end, he was a guy I organized in high esteem -- as a comedian and also as a person." silver Saundors Friedman, owner the The Original new York Improvisation, a comedy club, said, "If friend look at the history, there to be no black color comedians at all earlier then and also the fact that he made the to prime time and also stayed there fairly a while -- this is motivating to people who may have actually been 12, 13 or 14 years old back then." Wilson was hold of "The upper and lower reversal Wilson Show" top top NBC indigenous 1970-74. That dressed in drag to pat the wisecracking Geraldine. She was possibly his most famous character because she did no "put down" women, Wilson as soon as said. "She"s smart, she"s trustful, she"s loyal, she"s sassy," that said. While various other black performers played down their ethnicity, Wilson reveled in characters such as the Rev. Leroy, minister of the "The Church of What"s continue Now." Wilson claimed he was based upon a preacher the listened to together a child. "Nobody ever sent that a postcard objecting to any type of of his humor," comedian Steve Allen said KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. "There was no vulgarity, there to be no sleaze, there were no shock jokes. The was simply funny." while television even today is criticize for having actually too few minorities in former of and also behind the camera, Wilson did not complain. "It would be ridiculous because that me to say anything an unfavorable regarding blacks having actually an equal opportunity on TV," he claimed in 1971. "After all, ns was number one in the ratings four times last year and also twice this season. What might be more damn equal than that? If they obtain any an ext equal, i don"t want it." Clerow Wilson was born into poverty on Dec. 8, 1933, in Jersey City, N.J., and raised in foster homes, quitting college at 16. That served four years in the air Force, earning the nickname "Flip" for his irreverent humor as soon as he started entertaining troops. Discharged in 1954, Wilson spent more than a decade working at weird jobs and also developing a comedy plot in tiny clubs. When Hollywood started to seek out black color entertainers in the 1960s, his career took an increase turn. Wilson make his TV debut ~ above "The Tonight show Starring Johnny Carson" in 1965, i m sorry led to regular appearances ~ above "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "Laugh-In" and also on comedy collection such as "Love, American Style." A range special in which the starred brought about his very own series, which earned him an Emmy for performing and one for composing in 1971. It took competition native a brand-new drama, "The Waltons," come knock Wilson"s display down in the ratings and off the air in 1974. The comedian was divorced around the time his display ended and he won custody of his children. That reappeared a decade later on with two short-lived series: the 1984 quiz show "People space Funny," for which he to be host, and also the 1985 CBS sitcom "Charlie & Company," which co-starred singer Gladys Knight.

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Out of the limelight in 1993, Wilson claimed in one interview the he was enjoying recreational and also spiritual passions varying from hot-air ballooning and also long ocean cruises to examining the works of theorist Kahlil Gibran, author of "The Prophet." as well as his daughter Michelle, that is endured by sons Kevin and also David, and also daughters Stacey and Tamara. Residence | News | Bobby | job | funny | pan | Specials, All civil liberties Reserved.