Wilson, Flip

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Wilson was orphaned when he was eight. (Another version of his life states that his mother deserted the family when he was five and his father, unable to cope with a large family alone, placed them in foster homes.) He had a difficult childhood after that, living in a succession of foster homes and including a spell in reform school, where he was with his brothers.

He joined the US Air Force when he was 16, and it was there that his performing career began. After leaving the Air Force he worked as a bellhop in a hotel, where he also started as a stage comedian. He went on to night clubs, three television series and three films. The high point of his career was the top-rated 1970-74 NBC TV series The Flip Wilson Show.


Dever, Maria, and Dever, Aileen. Relative Origins: Famous Foster and Adopted People. (Portland: National Book Company, 1992)
Smith, Ronald L. Who's Who in Comedy: Comedians, Comics and Clowns, from Vaudeville to Today's Stand-ups. (New York: Facts on File, 1992)
Associated Press. "Flip Wilson Dies of Cancer at 64." [Includes portraits]. Available at: http://www.usatoday.com/life/enter/leps022.htm
Associated Press. Channel 6000. "Comedian Flip Wilson Dies at 64." [Includes portrait]. Available at: http://www.koin.com/news/stories/news-981125-234617.html


20th Century
Theater, Broadcasting, Cinema
Criminal Convictions, Imprisonment
Formal, American/European-Type Adoption
Formal, American/European-Type Fostering
School-age Years, Adolescence
Orphaned (Both Parents)
Institutional Care
Disrupted or Failed Placements
Related Topics
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