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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Nipsey Russel (1924 - 2005)

"The girl that I would marry
Need not be young and fair.
She should be a nymphomaniac
And be a millionaire!"

Nipsey Russell has died.

He was that guy on "To Tell The Truth" and "Match Game" who recited the poems.

Or so I thought.

Actually, he really was that guy on "To Tell The Truth" and "Match Game" who recited the poems. But he was also other guys.

Nipsey was born "Julius Russell" in Atlanta, GA.

Nipsey made a name for himself in the 50's and 60's on Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, and the Jack Parr show. Jack Parr claimed to have "discovered" Nipsey.

Nipsey was a fine dancer who played the Tin Man in "The Wiz" ("The genius who created me only took care of my dashing good looks, my razor sharp wit,and my irresistible attraction to the wrong women"), and he was appearing in a tap dance act at age 3.

Nipsey studied classical literature and foreign languages and was said to have a photographic memory. But he is best known for his zany - sometimes off the cuff - poetry.

Some of Nipsey's ancestors were kidnapped from their homeland and brought to the Americas to live out the rest of their lives as slave labor.

Nipsey died Sunday of cancer at Lenox Hospital in New York.

I will miss Nipsey Russell. But though he has gone, I will continue to say his name, because of all comedians - next to Soupy Sales, his frequent game show co-panelist - Nipsey's is one of the most enjoyable names to say out loud.

To honor Nipsey's memory and multifaceted career, I urge everyone in America today - all day - to repeat, under their various breaths, the great name of the great Nipsey Russell.

Say it with me now...

"Nipsey Russell"

And again...

"Nipsey Russell"

And again...

"Nipsey Russell...Nipsey Russell...At Studio 54, he did The Hustle..."

More quietly now. Like a maniac...

"Nipsey Russell...Nipsey Russell..."

Good! Good! Keep going! Don't stop till bedtime! I know I won't!

"Nipsey Russell...Nipsey Russell...Nipsey Russell..."

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Oh, the bygone days of variety television. Nipsy always seemed "cool" in a mellow, I don't take anything very seriously kind of way.

We can't forget another comedy / variety name champion Flip Wilson.

- By Anonymous art stevens, at Wed Oct 05, 04:29:00 PM GMT+1  

I watched "The Flip Wilson Show" religiously as a tyke and listened over and over to the two stand-up albums we had. Flip Wilson was very great.

- By Blogger Neal Romanek, at Wed Oct 05, 10:06:00 PM GMT+1  

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