Jay C. Flippen

Active - 1934 - 1971  |   Born - Mar 6, 1898   |   Died - Feb 3, 1970   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Action, Crime, Romance

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Discovered by famed African-American comedian Bert Williams, actor Jay C. Flippen attained his first Broadway stage role in 1920's Broadway Brevities. Entertainers of the period were expected to sing, dance, act and clown with equal expertise, and the young Flippen was no slouch in any of these categories. He not only shared billing with such stage luminaries as Jack Benny and Texas Guinan, but he boned up on his ad-lib skills as a radio announcer for the New York Yankees games. At one time president of the American Guild of Variety Artists, Flippen did as many benefits for worthy causes as he did paid performances and worked tirelessly in all showbiz branches: movies, stage (including the touring version of Olsen and Johnson's Hellzapoppin), radio (he was one of the first game show emcees) and even early experimental television broadcasts. After several years of alternating between raspy-voiced villains and lovable "Pop"- type characters in films, Flippen increased his fan following with a supporting role as C.P.O. Nelson on the 1962 sitcom Ensign O'Toole, which, though it lasted only one network season, was a particular favorite in syndicated reruns. In 1964, Flippen suffered a setback when a gangrenous leg had to be amputated. Choosing not to be what he described as "a turnip," Jay C. Flippen continued his acting career from a wheelchair, performing with vim and vinegar in films and on television until his death.

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