It’s been 24 years since the death of the man Time
magazine dubbed "TV's first black superstar." Flip Wilson received the honorific in 1972, thanks to his wildly popular variety series, The Flip Wilson Show
. Today we're celebrating Wilson's life with a few of our favorite moments from his hit show.
Wilson's recurring characters were fan favorites – like Reverend Leroy of The Church of What's Happening Now!
If there was one character audiences liked better than Reverend Leroy, it just might have been Geraldine Jones (Wilson himself in wig and dress). Here is Geraldine with the incomparable Muhammad Ali.
Wilson wasn't the only one who got to be funny on his show. He brought in plenty of other comedians, too – including established stars like Sid Caesar, Art Carney, Tim Conway, Bill Cosby, Phyllis Diller and Don Knotts, and up-and-comers like Albert Brooks, George Carlin, Dom DeLuise, Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin and The Muppets. Here, Wilson and Redd Foxx riff off each other.
More than just comedy, The Flip Wilson Show featured great musical performances too, showcasing the hottest up-and-coming stars – like this young band of brothers, with the youngest member, Michael, front and center.
No matter what character he played or who he starred with (like the legendary Lucille Ball), Flip Wilson earned his superstar status.
Written by Linnea Crowther