Fred Berry 1951-2003
I just mentioned on this blog a few days ago that I'd once seen Fred Berry in person. That doesn't mean I knew him, of course. In fact, I didn't even speak to him -- just saw him on the other side of the room. But it still makes you sad he's gone because you feel like you know him.
He hasn't really done anything in the public eye since he played Rerun on What's Happening!! except ... play Rerun. And that was just fine with us. We loved Rerun, so rerun him forever, we said.
Who else from that old '70s TV show do you ever see anymore? We don't even know the actors' names. And yet, Rerun, who wasn't even the main character just kept popping up. Most recently, I saw Fred Berry on Scrubs, as Rerun of course, all decked out in his red beret and suspenders. The whole Scrubs cast donned the attire and did the Rerun dance with him.
I guess it would be hard for the guy who played Raj to make a side income being Raj for the rest of his life. What would he do -- walk up and sit in a chair backwards? DeWayne could say "Hey, hey, hey!" but he's got no visual to go with it. A chubby guy with a big smile and red beret, though, that's the stuff.
He was the Kramer of What's Happening!! The Maynard G. Krebs. The Goober Pyle. I saw George Lindsey on Oprah a couple of years ago, and he was wearing his Goober outfit. That's what I'd hoped for Rerun -- seeing him on TV in his 70s still doing his thang. Michael Richards won't do that; too good to be Kramer for us when we want to get all nostalgic in the '10s.
Alas, poor Rerun. I knew him.