Slappy White, a dancer and comedian who crossed over from the black nightclubs and theaters on the so-called chitlin' circuit to bring his hard-luck humor to Las Vegas, has died. He was 74.
White died Tuesday night of a heart attack at his home in this island community north of Atlantic City. He was in the process of moving from Los Angeles.Born Melvin White, he got his start in show business dancing for pennies on the streets of his native Baltimore. He was a dancing partner of Redd Foxx before both made it as comics.
White, like his colleague Nipsey Russell, helped introduce black comedy to white mainstream audiences in the 1950s. He was a regular on Las Vegas stages and often performed at roasts held by Dean Martin in the 1960s.
In his act, White drew on his own hard-luck experiences.