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Dick Gregory, comedian who found amusement while opposed racism, passed at 84

Legendary comedian and polite rights idol Dick Gregory, who overcame a inequitable complement all the while marching for polite rights, has died, his family announced Saturday. He was 84.

“It is with huge unhappiness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic fable and polite rights romantic Mr. Dick Gregory over this earth tonight in Washington, D.C..” his son, Christian Gregory, announced on social media. “The family appreciates the escape of support and adore and respectfully asks for their remoteness as they suffer during this very formidable time. More sum will be expelled over the next few days.”

The means of death is still unclear.

Gregory first done his name, along with contemporaries Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor, by focusing his wit on something that was no shouting matter: Racism in America.

Gregory began behaving comedy while in the Army, but got his first big mangle in 1961, with a 15-minute audition at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club in Chicago. 

In an talk with CBS Sunday Morning in June, Gregory pronounced he “pushed that white child out of the way and ran up there and go up on stage. Two hours later, they called Hefner. And Hefner came by and they went out of their mind. Out of their mind!”

But white comics had an advantage where it really mattered: At the career-making “The Tonight Show with Jack Paar,” he pronounced “white comics could lay on the couch; a black comic couldn’t.”


Gregory pronounced that when Paar’s writer called him a few months after with an invitation to seem on “The Jack Paar Program,” he hung up.

“Hung up!,” he told “Sunday Morning. “And then the phone rang again. It’s Jack Paar. ‘Dick Gregory, this is Mr. Paar. How come you don’t wanna work my show?’ we said, ‘ ‘Cause the Negroes never lay down.’ ‘Well, come on in, I’ll let you lay down.’ And that’s how it happened. we came in, did my act, went to lay on the couch. It was sitting on the cot that done my income grow in 3 weeks from $250 operative 7 days a week to $5,000 a night.”

He didn’t just fight injustice in the comedy industry, he wanted to fight for change in America, too. He assimilated the polite rights movement, revelation Ed Bradley of “60 Minutes” in 1989 that he “chose to be an agitator.” His wife, Lillian, and their 10 children join in.

His oldest daughter, Michelle, now a college professor, removed to “CBS Sunday Morning” that she was first arrested at age five.

“We would infrequently see the news footage of the father being beaten,” pronounced Michelle. “And infrequently it was the police beating him, and infrequently it was folks who were dissapoint about the protesting he was doing. But we always saw the father come home. And we consider it was critical for him, for his kids to see, ‘I’m okay. And this is important, what I’m doing.'”

Son Christian Gregory, a chiropractor, says he was arrested 6 or 7 times before the age of 12.

Summer vacations, Christian says, were filled with marches, voter registration drives, and a lot of humor. “It felt peculiar infrequently to be shouting when you were concerned with something that was so life-altering and difficult,” he told Moriarty. “But laughter, it was recovering for us.”


In Gregory’s book, “Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lines,” he pronounced Rosa Parks told her the reason she gave up the chair on the train wasn’t since she was tired.

“She sounded almost like she was in a trance: ‘I just couldn’t get Emmett Till off my mind,’ she said,” Gregory wrote.

In 1968, when segregationist George Wallace ran for president, Gregory motionless to burst in the race too. He won scarcely 50,000 votes as a write-in claimant for the Peace and Freedom Party.

In 2017, when the presidency of the first black boss had ended, Christian Gregory pronounced his father is “honored” to have been partial of the arena in the nation’s story to Mr. Obama.

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