Comedian Dick Gregory, active in US civil rights movement, dies at 84

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Dick Gregory, the legendary stand-up comedian and civil rights activist, died Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Washington, D.C., according to multiple news sources. Known for his sophisticated humor that took on racial issues of the day, Gregory became a national comedy headliner and a trailblazer for upcoming African-American humorists.

"When I started, a black comic couldn't work a white nightclub", Gregory explained in an interview previous year.

Social equality lobbyist and entertainer Dick Gregory has kicked the bucket, his family has affirmed. "Somebody had to break down that door".

Hunger strikes were a frequent activist tool for Gregory. A confidant of King, Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy, the suavely dressed comedian was shot during race riots in Los Angeles in 1965 and escaped assassination in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963 after working with activist Medgar Evers, who was gunned down in his driveway. Hudson, who died in 1992, was able to walk and leave his home for the first time in 18 years after Gregory's intervention. And I said, 'Well, let's pull it out the closet.

"I am really enjoying the new MLK Jr stamp - just think about all those white bigots, licking the backside of a black man", wrote Wiley. The following year he ran for president as a write-in candidate, running as a Freedom and Peace Party candidate.

Gregory was active on the standup and public speaking circuit on and off for more than a half-century.

"I've so much to say and can't wait to get out of here to say it", Gregory wrote from his hospital bed.

Gregory went without solid food for weeks to draw attention to a wide range of causes, including Middle East peace, American hostages in Iran, animal rights, police brutality, the Equal Rights Amendment for women and to support pop singer Michael Jackson when he was charged with sexual molestation in 2004. "When he got that chance he rose to it magnificently".

Bud Light Presents Wild West Comedy Festival- Dick Gregory
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Dick Gregory was born Richard Claxton Gregory in St. Louis on October 12, 1932, the second of six children. My father transitioned encircled by his family in love.

In addition to being a stand-up sensation and a continued voice of resistance, Gregory was also an author, a businessman, and an actor.

Until that night, he said in a biography on his website, he had worked at small clubs filled with black audiences. This was the time when in 1961, Gregory was reserved for a separate night replacement in Playboy Club in downtown Chicago.

"When I started, a black comic couldn't work a white nightclub". And Hefner came by and they went out of their mind.

He was invited to perform on the Tonight Show in 1962 and became the first black performer invited to sit and talk with the host on air after his performance.

After his life-altering shows at the Playboy Club, Gregory wrote a profound 1964 autobiography titled Nigger, which described his impoverished childhood and the racism he experienced. While he was participating in an integration march, he sat down at a restaurant table, the restaurant owner came to him and said "sorry we don't serve colored folk here".

In addition to his wife of 58 years Lillian, Gregory is survived by children Ayanna, Yohance, Stephanie, Miss, Christian, Michele, Pamela, Paula, Lynne and Gregory.

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