May 30, 1902 Stepin Fetchit, comedian and film actor, was born Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry in Key West, Florida. He began entertaining in his teens as a comic character.
Stepin Fetchit was his stage name and Perry parlayed his persona as “the laziest man in the world” into a successful film career, appearing in 54 films between 1925 and 1976, and becoming the first Black actor to become a millionaire.
His films included “The Mysterious Stranger” (1925), “The Prodigal” (1931), and “Amazing Grace” (1974). In his personal life, Perry was highly literate and had a concurrent career writing for the Chicago Defender.
Perry was often criticized by civil rights leaders for his roles, but in 1976 the Hollywood Chapter of the NAACP awarded him a special NAACP Image Award and in 1978 he was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.
Perry also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Perry died November 19, 1985. Biographies of Perry include “Stepin Fletchit: The Life and Times of Lincoln Perry” (2005) and “Shuffling to Ignominy: The Tragedy of Stepin Flechit” (2005).