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Comedian, Civil Rights Activist Dick Gregory Dies at 84 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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FILE PHOTO – Activist Dick Gregory delivers a speech during a public viewing and funeral for legendary singer James Brown in Augusta, Georgia December 30, 2006. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Washington – Dick Gregory, who played a prominent role in the 1960s civil rights movement after died on Saturday at age 84, his son said.

“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, D.C.,” his son, Christian, wrote on Instagram.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gregory received his first chance to perform his first real act when Playboy founder Hugh Hefner saw Gregory’s act and hired the comedian to perform at his nightclub in 1961.

Gregory’s stand-up comedy tackled racism, and he took part in demonstrations in the 1960s, befriending the late Martin Luther King Jr.

In the early 1970s, Gregory left stand-up comedy to spend more time on political activism and in the 1980s turned his focus to promoting healthy eating .