- Raised by his grandfather, a Southern Baptist minister; started singing in the church choir at age 5.
- Sang as a soloist with the Harry Belafonte Singers from 1958 to 1968.
- Was drafted into the Army in 1961 and served an 18-month stint as an X-ray technician.
- Was the first African-American cast member of Saturday Night Live, from 1975 to 1980.
- Suffered a near-fatal gunshot wound when he was the victim of a botched robbery in 1994.
- Received an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Supporting Male for the 2001 film Jackpot.
- 1979, Emmy — Outstanding Comedy - Variety or Music Program: Nominee
- Freda Morris — Wife (separated)
- Dillard University, New Orleans, LA; attended the Juilliard School, New York, NY; attended the Manhattan School of Music, New York, NY
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