Charlie Hill, a legend of standup comedy who has influenced virtually every Native comic who followed, lost his battle with lymphoma earlier today. As the news spreads through Indian country, condolences and tributes to a man who touched the lives of many are pouring forth. Here are just a few.
Actor Gary Farmer, via Facebook:
My sincere condolences to family, friends, and fans for my long time friend, Charlie Hill who passed on early this morning. We met in Oneida, WI in the early 80's and remained friends throughout until our last gig together in Minnesota to roast Dennis Banks…when he introduced me and the band. It was a memorable introduction…and my last funny memory of a great comedian.
Comedian Roseanne Barr, via Twitter:
Charlie Hill revolutionary stand up comic /wordsmith vagenius has vac8d ths realm
Photographer Thosh Collins, via Facebook:
We never lose great people…. we get to enjoy their guidance from the spirit world. Our time with them is just delayed until our spirit entities meet again in another place. … [Charlie Hill] was the first successful Native American comedian appearing on shows like Richard Prayor, Jonny Carson, David Letterman and Jay Leno. Charlie was not only a funny man but was a very kind and loving man to his family and those around him. … Your journey touched all.
Hip hop artist Frank Waln, via Twitter:
RIP to legend Charlie Hill. I'm glad to have met him. He told me I had guts in my nuts when he heard my music. … He was such a kind soul
Journalist Waubgeshing Rice, via Twitter:
RIP Charlie Hill. He was the first Native person I ever saw on late night TV (Letterman). Thanks for all the laughs!
Comedian Shelah Erickson, via Twitter:
Sad day. A pioneer in comedy for all has lost his battle with Lymphoma. RIP Charlie Hill. You paved the way ?? ???
Director Lynn Salt, via Facebook:
We HONOR Native comedian, writer, actor, activist CHARLIE HILL, Oneida/Mohawk/Cree Nations, who passed to Spirit. We send healing prayers to his family, friends, community and Nation. We learned so much from you Charlie, you taught us to laugh through the pain and come out stronger. We will always be grateful to you! We will never forget you!! In Spirit.
Blogger RedIndianGirl, via Twitter:
There's going to be a lot of laughter in the Spirit World today. RIP Charlie Hill, who brought NDN humour to the world.
Actress Tiio Horn, via Twitter:
RIP Charlie Hill. A true inspiration to me and so many others. You will be greatly missed by all. Sending good energy to your relatives. Xo
Will Moreau Goins, via Facebook:
Charlie Hill…. R.I.P. never forgotten, always remembered, always missed, …Wado thanks for being who you were to all of us! So happy I was blessed with you in my life! In all our lives, with your wit, laughter, intelligence…. You were a pioneer!