NEWS DESK: Comedian Dick Gregory, who took an active role in the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1960s, has died at age 84, his son said on social media on Saturday, reported Reuters.
“It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr Dick Gregory departed this earth tonight in Washington, DC,” his son, Christian, wrote on Instagram.
Comedian Dick Gregory always told it like it is. Our laughter was fuel to fight for justice in an unjust world. RIP 1932-2017 pic.twitter.com/wpbdEkvny1
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 20, 2017
Dick Gregory, God Bless your Soul and may Angels guide thee to thy rest!
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) August 20, 2017
— Neal Brennan (@nealbrennan) August 20, 2017
— Ben Jealous (@BenJealous) August 20, 2017
Dick Gregory was a friend and a great inspiration for my entire life ,his energy is now absorbed back into the whole he lives thru us 🕉
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) August 20, 2017
About being black in America Dick Gregory has passed away, Condolences to his family and to us who won’t have his insight 2 lean on
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) August 20, 2017
Gregory, who was born in St Louis, Missouri, gained his first major break in stand-up comedy when Playboy founder Hugh Hefner saw Gregory’s act and hired the comedian to perform at his night club in the early 1960s.
Gregory’s comedy tackled racial prejudice and he became a pioneering figure for other African American comedians. He released a number of comedy albums and appeared on television talk shows.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 20, 2017
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 20, 2017
Dick Gregory lived an amazing, revolutionary life. A groundbreaker in comedy and a voice for justice. RIP
— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 20, 2017
He also took part in civil rights demonstrations and befriended Martin Luther King Jr. Gregory was jailed in Birmingham, Alabama, during one protest in 1963.
In the early 1970s, Gregory left stand-up comedy to spend more time on political activism and in the 1980s he turned his focus to promoting healthy eating.