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rest in peace

nipsey russell

Nipsey Russell was a comedian, most known for being a guest panelist on many 1970s game shows, such as Match Game and To Tell the Truth. In addition to his sharp game-playing skills, Russell also delighted audiences with short poems, earning him the nickname "the poet laureate of television."

He got his start in the 1940s as a car hop at the Atlanta drive-in The Varsity, where he would earn his tips by making his customers laugh. He moved his act to nightclubs in the 1950s, when he was discovered and subsequently made many "party albums", which were essentially a compilation of his stand-up routines, not unlike what Redd Foxx was doing at the very same time.

In the late 1950s, he was featured on The Ed Sullivan Show, which led to a small part in the comedy Car 54, Where Are You? in 1960. Scattered appearances on television series followed, as well as performing guest host duties on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

In 1971, he started as a featured panelist on To Tell the Truth, which led to him being hired for Match Game two years later. Today, he is most known for these game show appearances, and has become somewhat of a B-list celebrity icon in that respect.

He was also a trained dancer, and appeared in the 1978 film The Wiz as the Tin Man.

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