Comedian And Civil Rights Activist Dick Gregory Dies At 84 : The Two-Way Gregory was known for his sharp satire, political activism and health advocacy.

Dick Gregory, the comedian and civil rights crusader, died Saturday.

“It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr. Dick Gregory departed this earth tonight in Washington, DC,” his son Christian Gregory said in the post.

Gregory gained attention as a comedian in the early 1960s, and was the first black comedian to widely win plaudits from white audiences.

“Dick Gregory is the first to recognized – and he’ll say it – the first black comedian to be able to stand flat-footed, and just delivered comedy. You had other comedians back then but they always had to do a little song or a dance or whatever, Sammy Davis had to dance and sing, and then tell jokes. Same with Pearl Bailey and some of the other comedians. But Dick Gregory was able to grow on television, sit down on the Jack Paar show – and sit on the couch and actually have a discussion, and that it never happened in the history of television.”

Forty years later, Gregory told Tavis Smiley on NPR about his experience at the march, describing it as “Joy. It was festivity, and as far as the human eye could see.”

“I went on a fast, 40 days of water. Forty days of fruit juice. Forty days of fruit. And then 40 days of water again,” Gregory told NPR. In 2000, Gregory went on a hunger strike to protest police brutality, long before the current wave of activism.

Gregory promoted some conspiracy theories, telling NPR in 2005 about conspiracies involving the death of Princess Diana and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Dick Gregory