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Slappy White
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    (September 27, 1921-November 7, 1995)
    Born in Baltimore, Maryland
    Birth name was Melvin Edward White
    Recurring role on Sanford and Son as Melvin, an old friend of Fred Sanford
    Appeared in the films ‘The Man from O.R.G.Y.’ (1970), ‘Amazon Women on the Moon’ (1987) and ‘Mr. Saturday Night’ (1992)
    Frequent performer at Friars’ Club roasts and Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts
    He ran away from Baltimore at age thirteen to avoid being sent to reform school over his frequent absences.
    He was a tap dancer in a travelling carnival.
    He married and divorced singers Pearl Bailey and LaVern Baker.
    National Overseas Airways hired him and Steve Rossi to provide live in-flight entertainment in a short-lived effort to increase ticket sales. (On the bright side, as White noted, ‘No one walked out on us.’)
    He and Redd Foxx formed a comedy team that toured the chitlin circuit in the ‘40s.
    He paired with Steve Rossi to form one of the first interracial comedy teams (1969).
    His ‘Brotherhood Creed,’ in which he wore one white glove and one black glove to illustrate a poem he recited about equality, was personally commended by President John F. Kennedy.
    He joked, ‘I don’t know why people are always putting down the south. Why, I was just down there and they treated me like a king. Everywhere I went, there was a sign saying ‘For White Only.’’

Credit: C. Fishel

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