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Comedian, civil rights activist Dick Gregory dies at 84

Sunday, August 20, 2017 - 01:08

Dick Gregory, a comedian who lambasted racism and played a prominent role in the 1960s civil rights movement died on Saturday at age 84. Linda So reports.

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Legendary comedian Dick Gregory, who stood up for civil rights in the 1960s, died Saturday. He was 84. His son Christian announcing the news of his father's passing on Instagram. Gregory's longtime publicist said he was surrounded by family when he died of heart failure at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. The groundbreaking comedian was in the middle of a comedy tour when he fell ill, checking into the hospital a week ago. Gregory was one of the first black comics to perform for white audiences at a time when stand-up comedy was largely segregrated. He got his big break when Playboy founder Hugh Hefner saw Gregory's act and hired him to perform at his nightclub in 1961. Gregory tackled racism in his routines and stood up for social justice. He was arrested several times for taking part in civil rights demonstrations as he used his fame to help push for desegregation. His success as a comedian in the 1960s helped pave the way for other black comics such as Richard Pryor to gain greater fame by reaching a mainstream audience.

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Comedian, civil rights activist Dick Gregory dies at 84

Sunday, August 20, 2017 - 01:08