The first biography of the beloved entertainer who broke the prime-time color barrier
When The Flip Wilson Show debuted in 1970, black faces were still rare on television and black hosts nonexistent. Then came Flip—to instant acclaim. His show dueled Marcus Welby, M.D. for the top spot in the ratings. His characters and catchphrases fixed themselves in America’s consciousness, and he helped launch new talent, including Richard Pryor and George Carlin. But how did Clerow Wilson, a motherless Jersey City grade-school dropout, become the celebrity heralded on the cover of TIME as “TV’s First Black Superstar”? Drawing on interviews with family, friends, and celebrities, Kevin Cook offers an inspiring salute to a self-made star who fell from grace, but not before blazing a trail for generations of entertainers to come.
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