Comedian Dick Gregory drew a large crowd during the unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored Gregory with the 2,542nd star in the category of live theatre/performance, was dedicated at 1650 Vine St.
Gregory is a comedian, but he is also known as a civil rights activist, author, recording artist, actor, philosopher and anti-drug crusader. Born in St. Louis, he began his career as a comedian while serving in the military in the mid-1950s.
He was drafted in 1954 while attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. After being discharged in 1956, with a desire to perform comedy professionally, he moved to Chicago.
Gregory attributes the launch of his career to Hugh Hefner, who watched him perform at Herman Roberts Show Bar. Hefner hired Gregory to work at the Chicago Playboy Club .
By 1962, Gregory had become a nationally known headline performer, selling out nightclubs, making numerous national television appearances and recording popular comedy albums.
Presenters noted that as an influential American comedian, Gregory has used his voice to convey to both white and black audiences his message on civil rights. Gregory went to Selma, Ala. and spoke for two hours on a public platform two days before the voter registration drive known as “Freedom Day.” Gregory later became more involved in struggles for civil rights, activism against the Vietnam War, economic reform and anti-drug issues.
Gregory is listed as No. 82 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of all time. He has appeared in numerous films including: “Steppin: The Movie”, “Letter to the President”, “Malcolm X: A Search for Identity”, “In Remembrance of Martin”, “The Hot Chick” and “Children of the Struggle”.
He has written 14 books and has 15 comedy albums that contain his stand up acts and his political commentary.
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