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Nipsey Russell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (15)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameJulius Russell
Nicknames The Poet Laureate of Television
The Poet Laureate of Comedy
Harlem's Son of Fun
Nipsey
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Nipsey Russell was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1918. He got his start in Rock and Roll Review and other music revues in the 1950s. In the 1960s Russell achieved his first major role as Officer Anderson in Car 54, Where Are You? (1961). After being on the show for a year, Russell was a mainstay on variety shows, appearing on Laugh-In, The Dean Martin Show (1965), and the Jackie Gleason Show, among many others. Russell also appeared on many small shows in the 1960s as an always unique personality who would liven up almost any program. As the 1970s approached, Nipsey Russell became a popular game show panelist, appearing on To Tell The Truth, Match Game PM (1975), and many others. Nipsey was known as television's poet laureate on such shows as the Tonight Show and many other popular talk shows of the day.

Nipsey's film roles were remarkably scarce, but he will always be remembered for his role of the Tin Man in the 1978 remake of the Wizard of Oz, The Wiz (1978). The movie was a box office failure, but since that time the movie has been considered a cult classic. But Russell's skill cannot be judged solely by his television and movie appearances. He was an accomplished actor and singer on stage and had a strong presence on Broadway for many years.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Scott msa0510@mail.ecu.edu.

Trade Mark (1)

Always presenting a poem at his shows

Trivia (15)

Frequently recited a humorous poem during his game show and talk show appearances.
Delivered standard four-line topical poems as part of his routine. An example: "The opposite of pro is con; That fact is clearly seen; If progress means move forward, Then what does Congress mean?"
An early job as a carhop kick-started his career. To generate tips he would joke around to make his customers laugh. It helped him hone his nightclub act at such establishments as the Club Baby Grand and Apollo Theater. Received his first big break in the late 1950s on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948).
Recorded several "party" albums.
Became one of the first African-Americans to be a regular on game shows (e.g., "To Tell the Truth") and was also one of the first black game show hosts with NBC's "Your Number's Up.".
Had a singing/dancing background. He danced with the Ragamuffins of Rhythm.
Obtained the rank of captain in the army during World World II, when African-American officers were very rare and segregation was official policy.
Got his start in show business in the late 1950s on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948).
Served in Europe as a captain in the United States Army in World War II.
Although he claimed to be a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, he actually attended for only one semester in 1936 and did not receive a degree.
Biography in "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 483-485. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
Had a childhood nickname of Stinky Bill.
To his surprise, on a 2003 episode of Hollywood Squares, it was revealed that the character Little Nipper in the cartoon strip Wee Pals had been named for him.
Met a young, unfamiliar actress/singer named Della Reese at one of the nightclubs in New York City; the two became best friends until his death in 2005.
Was friends with Jo Anne Worley, and Monty Hall.

Personal Quotes (2)

I've always had the ability to manipulate words and communicate ideas and thoughts. Writing poems is very simple to do....I start with the joke line and write backward.
When asked why he never married: I have trouble living with myself, how could I live with anyone else?

See also

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