The Flip Wilson Show" made its debut Sept. 17, 1970, on NBC. The variety show was an instant hit, skyrocketing to the No. 2 slot nationwide in its first two seasons.
Guests included such stars as Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and Bing Crosby. Viewers loved host Clerow "Flip" Wilson's character Geraldine, his monologues, ad libs, and skits.
The show was replaced by "The Waltons" in 1974. Wilson guested on other shows, toured on the celebrity golf circuit, then ducked out of the spotlight. In 1984, he hosted a daytime game show on NBC called "People Are Funny,' which lasted four months. His next effort, "Charlie and Company," lasted a few weeks.
Wilson, now single, lives in Malibu, Calif., and has four grown children. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and a hot-air balloon pilot.
"I study a lot of philosophy," Wilson said in a recent interview. "I want to be an example of how to enjoy this success, and that's exactly what I've done. I've enjoyed every moment"