Fred Berry: Dancing Rerun

Some actors chafe against being typecast in their best-known role. Others embrace it. Fred Berry was decidedly in the latter category –– his portrayals of Rerun continued long after the three-year run of What's Happening!!

Fans of the 1970s sitcom loved the dim student who was a genius on the dance floor. From his trademark red beret and rainbow suspenders to his tendency to get into sticky situations, he was an icon of '70s TV. After What's Happening!! ended, Berry appeared as Rerun on the first season of spinoff What's Happening Now!! and played Rerun in public appearances and TV guest spots. He even had his middle name legally changed to Rerun.

Before Berry made it big as Rerun, he displayed his talent on TV as a member of dance troupe The Lockers. The group, founded by Toni Basil and Don Campbell, appeared on Saturday Night Live and Soul Train and helped bring street dancing into the mainstream. Berry was part of The Lockers for three years until he was tapped for TV stardom. He continued to use his dance skills as Rerun, who often aspired to get on TV or win a dance contest.

Later in life, Berry became a Baptist minister. When he developed Type 2 diabetes, he lost 100 pounds – but he still continued to portray the very cuddly Rerun when his longtime fans wanted to see him. Berry died 10 years ago today, on Oct. 21, 2003, while recovering from a stroke.