Flip Wilson Biography (1933-1998)

See index for CTFT sketch: Born December 8, 1933, in Jersey City, NJ;died of liver cancer, November 25, 1998, in Malibu, CA. Comedian. Flip Wilsonwas the first African American to host a successful TV show - The Flip Wilson Show- which ran between 1940-74 and was extremely popular for its offbeat and universal humor. The show was successful not only because of Wilson's talent (Milton Berle called Wilson "one of the funniest people I ever knew") but because it managed to be genuinely funny without resorting to vulgarity or sarcasm. Particularly popular was the character Geraldine, whom Wilson played in drag. Wilson was born Clerow Wilson and raised in poverty. He quit high school early and joined the service, getting the nickname Flip when he entertained troops with his humor. After serving in the military, Wilson lookedfor opportunities to create a comedy act in small clubs. With more successesbehind him, he looked for exposure in Hollywood and eventually made appearances in the 1960s on TV shows like The Tonight Show with Johnny Carsonand Laugh-In. His own show ran until 1974, after which he occasionallymade guest appearances on TV shows. In the later part of his life he spent time with his family and pursued spiritual and adventuresome interests.

Birth Details
December 8, 1933
Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Death Details
November 25, 1998
Malibu, California, United States

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