The Inside Story of TV's First Black Superstar
By Kevin Cook
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670025701, 256pp.)
Publication Date: April 18, 2013
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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The rags-to-riches story of a groundbreaking, beloved entertainer
When The Flip Wilson Show debuted in 1970, black faces were still rare on television, black hosts nonexistent. So how did Clerow “Flip” Wilson go from Jersey City grade-school dropout to national celebrity, heralded on the cover of Time as “TV’s First Black Superstar”?
Flip is a candid, entertaining biography of a consummate comedian who changed the face of American popular culture. Kevin Cook chronicles Flip’s meteoric rise through the Chitlin’ Circuit of segregated nightclubs to his breakthrough on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show to his hit variety show, on which he created such outrageous and hilarious characters as the sassy Geraldine and flock-fleecing Reverend Leroy. As one of the biggest stars of his time, he performed and partied with Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and other stars of the 1970s.
Drawing on interviews with family, friends, and celebrities, Cook delivers the inspiring story of a complex man who broke the prime-time color barrier, blazing a trail for generations of African American performers who followed him.
Kevin Cook is the author of The Last Headbangers, Titanic Thompson, and Tommy’s Honor. The former editor in chief of Golf Magazine, he has written for Sports Illustrated, GQ, Playboy, Details,
Men’s Journal, and many other magazines, and has appeared on ESPN, CNN, and FOX TV. He lives in New York City.
"Candid and entertaining... Cook's fiercely honest biography captures the tumultuous and winning personality of the man."
“An engaging story.”
~The Los Angeles Times
[Kevin Cook] keeps the story just as Flip Wilson kept his act and his audience, "in fun."
~The Wall Street Journal
"Flip Wilson was wonderful. His material advanced the possibility of human unity and hilarity."
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For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org