Nipsey Russell: The Smile Lives On We remember entertainer Nipsey Russell, who died Sunday at age 80 of cancer. The stand-up comic was a familiar face on variety, talk and game shows for many years, and starred as the Tin Man in the The Wiz, an updated, urban version of The Wizard of Oz starring Diana Ross and a young Michael Jackson.
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Nipsey Russell: The Smile Lives On

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Nipsey Russell: The Smile Lives On

Nipsey Russell: The Smile Lives On

Nipsey Russell: The Smile Lives On

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We remember entertainer Nipsey Russell, who died Sunday at age 80 of cancer. The stand-up comic was a familiar face on variety, talk and game shows for many years, and starred as the Tin Man in the The Wiz, an updated, urban version of The Wizard of Oz starring Diana Ross and a young Michael Jackson.

ED GORDON, host:

Funny man Nipsey Russell has died. The comedian's rhyming delivery made him a hit on many television shows throughout the 1960s and '70s. Born Julius Russell, the native of Atlanta was part of a dancing comedy group in the 1920s. After finishing college, Russell served as a medic in World War II. He returned to comedy and became a regular guest on "The Tonight Show" and "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in." His role on the 1960s show "Car 54, Where Are You" made Russell one of the first blacks to co-star in a sitcom. In the 1970s, he moved to the big screen. Russell played the Tinman in "The Wiz," and the role highlighted his range of talent. The comic was a multithreat entertainer who could dance, sing and rhyme with the best of them. He died on Sunday in New York City. Russell, whose birth certificate was lost long ago, was said to be 80 years old.

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