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Charlie & Co. aired from September 1985 until July 1986 on CBS.

Chicago's south side was the setting for this domestic comedy which many critics accused of being a poor man's version of NBC's highly successful The Cosby Show. Charlie Richmond ( Flip Wilson), was an administrative assistant with the Chicago Department Of Highways. He and his wife Diana ( Gladys Knight), an Elementary School Teacher, had 3 outspoken children-Junior, Lauren, and Robert ( Kristoff St. John, Fran Robinson, Jaleel white). Since none of them were afflicted with shyness, life at home, particularly at meals, tended to resemble a verble free-for-all. Walter Simpson ( Ray Girardin), was Charlie's boss, and Bieberman, Sandler, Coyle, and Miguel( Richard Karron, Kip King, Terry McGovern, Eddie Valez), were his co-workers. Early in 1986, Diana's sarcastic Aunt Rachel ( Della Reese), not one of Charlie's favorite people turned up, adding to the already contentios atmosphere in Charlie's home.

A Review From USA TODAY

Published: September 18, 1985

Sorry 'Charlie' is lacking in backbone

Flip Wilson is not Bill Cosby. And this is not The Cosby Show, although it tries so hard. Sorry, Charlie.

The situations are similar, except that we see where Charlie works. But Charlie lacks Cosby's control. His kids are brats; his wife indulges his insecurities. If Cosby is a revelation, Charlie is a bore.

Certainly, the wholesomeness of Charlie can't be dismissed. Cosby's success fostered this climate and it's healthy. But Charlie is no pillar of strength. He's a wimp and doesn't set the best example.

More middle-class than the Cosby character, he lives in Chicago and works at the Department of Highways. His doting wife ( Gladys Knight) is a teacher. The two parents work hard to provide a comfortable home for their three little monsters ( Fran Robinson, Kristoff St. John and Jaleel White).

These kids don't deserve their parents ' goodness. In an upcoming episode, Charlie is afraid to tell his spoiled teenage daughter about sex and spends his time fretting about the encounter.

He's so distraught because his work schedule forces him to cancel a family camping trip that he tries to enact the scene around the fireplace. Meanwhile, the kids sit and pout.

You feel sorry for Charlie and sorrier for Charlie.

Here's Flip Wilson's Obituary from CNN

Flip Wilson -- what you saw was what you got

November 26, 1998
Web posted at: 10:03 a.m. EST (1503 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- With a wig, high heels and colorful minidress, Flip Wilson sashayed into America's living rooms, spicing up the 1970s with burlesque humor and introducing a rare black voice to prime-time audiences.

Wilson, the first successful black host of a TV variety show, died of liver cancer Wednesday at his Malibu home with his daughter, Michelle, by his side, said Angie Hill, the comedian's assistant. He was 64.

"He passed very peacefully in his sleep," Hill said.

Wilson had undergone surgery October 2 at St. John's Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica for a malignant tumor near his liver.

"The Flip Wilson Show," a hit for NBC, showcased the comedian's talents during its 1970-74 run. He dressed in drag to play the wisecracking Geraldine, whose "The devil made me do it" and "What you see is what you get!" became catch phrases across the country.

While breakthrough actors like Bill Cosby on "I Spy" and Diahann Carroll in "Julia" had roles that downplayed their racial identity, Wilson reveled in characters such as Leroy, pastor of the "Church of What's Happening Now," based on a preacher the comedian knew from his childhood.

"I was very impressed with him, and I was always amazed that he wasn't well educated," Wilson said in a 1971 New York Daily News interview. "But in his simple way, he was dynamic and exciting."

Geraldine was perhaps his most famous character.

"The secret of my success with Geraldine is that she's not a put-down of women," he once said. "She's smart, she's trustful, she's loyal, she's sassy. Most drag impersonations are a drag. But women can like Geraldine, men can like Geraldine, everyone can like Geraldine."

His humor was rarely political, but in interviews he spoke of his admiration for black politicians such as Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes and Georgia legislator Julian Bond.

As for racism in the world of television, he said in 1971, "It would be ridiculous for me to say anything negative regarding blacks having an equal opportunity on TV. After all, I was number one in the ratings four times last year and twice this season. What could be more damn equal than that? If they get any more equal, I don't want it."

Born into poverty
Clerow Wilson was born into poverty on December 8, 1933, in Jersey City, New Jersey, and raised in foster homes, quitting school at 16. He served four years in the Air Force, and earned the nickname "Flip" for his irreverent humor when he began entertaining the troops.

Discharged in 1954, Wilson spent more than a decade working at odd jobs and developing a comedy act in small clubs. When Hollywood began to seek out black entertainers in the 1960s, his career took an upward turn.

Aretha Franklin and Wilson
Wilson made his TV debut on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in 1965, which led to frequent appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "Laugh-In" and on comedy series including "Love, American Style."

A variety special in which Wilson starred in September 1968 led to his own series, which earned him an Emmy for performing and one for writing in 1971. It took competition from a new drama, "The Waltons," to knock Wilson's show down in the ratings and off the air.

The series recently returned to television on the TV Land network.

Wilson was also often a supporting player in comedy films of the 1970s, including "Uptown Saturday Night," with Cosby and Sidney Poitier. But his biggest starring vehicle, "The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh," was quickly relegated to the back shelf of film history.

Retires to raise children

The comedian was divorced about the time his show ended and he won custody of his children.

He ended his absence from TV with guest appearances and then with two series: the 1984 quiz show "People Are Funny," which he hosted, and the 1985 CBS sitcom "Charlie & Company," which co-starred singer Gladys Knight. Both shows were short-lived.

Wilson effectively retired from the entertainment business after the failed sitcom to raise his children out of the spotlight.

Wilson said in 1993 he was enjoying the good life, which included recreational and spiritual passions ranging from hot-air ballooning and long ocean cruises to studying the works of philosopher Khalil Gibran, author of "The Prophet."

As for Geraldine, he said, "I don't think Geraldine will be back. She was the girl of my dreams, and she carried me longer than my mother did.

"I have sincere affection for her and an appreciation of the affection that many fans express for her. But I think Mr. Wilson will have to be the rest of the way alone."

He is survived by sons Kevin and David, and daughters Stacey, Tamara and Michelle. Plans for a memorial service were pending.

To read an article on Charlie & Co. go to

To watch an episode go to

For more on Charlie & Co. go to

For a biography of Flip Wilson go to

For a Page honoring Flip Wilson go to

For the Official Website of Gladys Knight go to

For a page devoted to Glady Knight and The Pips go to

For the Official Website of Kristoff St. John go to

For the Official Website of Jaleel White go to

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Sat March 18, 2017 Filesize: 101.5kb, 208.5kb Dimensions: 881 x 882
Keywords: The Cast of Charlie & Co. (Links Updated 7/15/18)



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