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Bill Hicks
Original name: William Hicks
Birth: Dec. 16, 1961
Lowndes County
Georgia, USA
Death: Feb. 26, 1994
Little Rock
Pulaski County
Arkansas, USA

Comedian. His material encompassed a wide range of social issues as well as religion, politics, and philosophy, and was controversial, and often steeped in dark comedy. He was critical of consumerism, superficiality, mediocrity, and banality within the media and popular culture, which he characterized as oppressive tools of the ruling class that "keep people stupid and apathetic." Born William Melvin Hicks in Valdosta, Georgia, he moved around with his family before finally settling in Houston, Texas when he was seven years old. He became interest in comedy at an early age, influenced by comedians Richard Pryor and Woody Allen. At the age of 16, he was associated with the Texas Outlaw Comics group developed at the Comedy Workshop in Houston and gained some underground success in night clubs and universities. A heavy smoker, his nicotine addiction, love of smoking, and occasional attempts to quit became a recurring theme in his act throughout his later years. By January 1986 he was using recreational drugs and his financial resources were badly dwindled. The following year, his career received a boost when he appeared on Rodney Dangerfield's "Young Comedians Special." The same year, he moved to New York City, New York and performed frequently for the next five years. In 1990 he released his first album "Dangerous," performed on the HBO special "One Night Stand," and performed at Montreal's "Just for Laughs" festival. He was also part of a group of American stand-up comedians performing in London's West End that November. He was a huge hit in the Britain and Ireland where he amassed a significant fan base and continued touring there throughout 1991. That year, he returned to "Just for Laughs" and filmed his second video, "Relentless." In 1992 he made a brief detour into musical recording with the "Marble Head Johnson" album, collaborating with Houston high school friend Kevin Booth and Austin Texas drummer Pat Brown. During the same year he toured England, where he recorded the "Revelations" video for British public service television Channel 4. He closed the show with his soon-to become-famous philosophy regarding life, "It's Just a Ride". Also in that tour he recorded the stand-up performance released in its entirety on a double CD titled "Salvation." In 1993 he was voted "Hot Standup Comic" by Rolling Stone magazine. In 1993 progressive rock band Tool invited him to open a number of their concerts in its annual music festival "Lollapalooza" appearances. In June 1993 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver, and he began receiving weekly chemotherapy while still touring and also recording his album "Arizona Bay," with Kevin Booth. On October 1, 1993 he was scheduled to appear on "Late Show with David Letterman," his 12th appearance on a Letterman late-night show, but his entire performance was removed from the broadcast, then the only occasion where a comedian's entire routine was cut after taping. His stand-up routine was removed from the show allegedly because Letterman and his producer were nervous about a particular religious joke and Hicks said he believed it was due to a pro-life commercial aired during a commercial break. Both the show's producers and CBS denied responsibility. He felt betrayed and never appeared on the show again. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he often joked that any given performance would be his last. The public, however, was unaware of his condition and only a few close friends and family members knew of his disease. He performed the final show of his career at Caroline's in New York City on January 6, 1994 and shortly afterward he moved back to his parents' house in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he died of the disease at the age of 32. At the time of his death, he was also working with comedian Fallon Woodland on a pilot episode of a new talk show, entitled "Counts of the Netherworld" for Channel 4. In 2004 he was ranked number 19 in "Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time." In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, fellow comedians and comedy insiders voted him number 13 on their list of "The Top 20 Greatest Comedy Acts Ever". In March 2007 he was voted the sixth greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4's list of the Britain's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups, and he moved up to number 4 on their updated 2010 list. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Family links: 
  James Melvin Hicks (1923 - 2006)

Cause of death: Pancreatic Cancer
Magnolia Cemetery
Greene County
Mississippi, USA
GPS (lat/lon): 31.15056, -88.56162
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 2487
Bill Hicks
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Bill Hicks
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Bill Hicks
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