Clerow Wilson, Jr. (December 8, 1933 – November 25, 1998), known professionally as Flip Wilson, was an American comedian and actor. Wilson was the first African American entertainer to host his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show. The popular series earned Wilson a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards.
In January 1972, Time magazine featured Wilson's image on their cover and named him "TV's first black superstar".
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, he was one of eighteen children in an impoverished household. After years of bouncing from foster homes to reform school, 16-year-old Wilson lied about his age and joined the United States Air Force. His outgoing personality and funny stories made him popular; he was even asked to tour military bases to cheer up other servicemen. Claiming that he was always "flipped out", Wilson's barracks mates gave him his famous nickname. Discharged in 1954, Wilson started working as a bellhop in San Francisco's Manor Plaza Hotel.