Flip Wilson continued

1970 opened up for Wilson in a huge way as it would see him earn a Grammy Award for his album, Devil in a Blue Dress. Seeing Wilson’s potential star power to draw in black and white audiences, NBC gave Wilson his own television show. "The Flip Wilson Show", in which he would become writer, producer and star. Wilson would have the audience in stitches nightly with his memorable characters from his early act "Geraldine Jones" and “The Reverend” of the church of What's Happening Now. Always in the top ratings on the network, Flip Wilson was a bonafide star, featured in films like uptownSaturday night, Skate Town USA, and The Fish that saved Pittsburgh. Flip along with George Carlin came up with the idea of the comedy satire news skit format used bySaturday NightLive, and performed their skit several times on the Johnny Carson show. 

Flip was riding high with popularity ratings and bringing his comedic genius to America's homes, earning him eleven Emmy award nominations and winning two. Wilson won a Golden Globe award for best actor in a television series. But at the height of it all, Flip made a decision nobody saw coming. He decided to pull the plug on his show and walk away from show business totally.

Flip traded the glitz and glam of Hollywood for a camping truck, as he traveled the country, something he always wanted to do in life. In later years, Flip Wilson would mostly stay out of the public eye doing only occasional appearances on sitcoms like People are Funny, Charlie & Co and Living Single. One of his last television performances was in the PBS special, Zora Is My Name, starring Ruby Dee and Louis Gossett Jr. directed by BHMD’s very own Neema Barnette.On November 25,1998 Wilson died from liver cancer in Malibu California at the age of 64. Flip Wilson had 5 children.

Horace Glasper for BHMD

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