Fred Berry

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Fred Berry
Fred Berry (actor).jpg
Born Fred Allen Berry
(1951-03-19)March 19, 1951
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died October 21, 2003(2003-10-21) (aged 52)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Stroke
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, street dancer
Spouse(s) Franchesska Berry (1976-1976)
Franchesska Berry (1978-1980)
Carol Ann Ross (1984-1991)
Darlene Bitten (1994-1999)
Essie Berry (1999-2003)
Children DeShannon Berry[1]
Portia Berry-Allen
Fred Berry, Jr.

Fred Allen "Rerun" Berry (March 19, 1951 – October 21, 2003) was an American actor and street dancer. He was best known for the role of Fred "Rerun" Stubbs on the popular 1970s television show What's Happening!!.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Berry was born in St. Louis, Missouri.


Before starring on What's Happening!!, he was a member of the Los Angeles-based dance troupe The Lockers, with whom he appeared on the third episode of Saturday Night Live. He also appeared on the dance music show Soul Train, and was featured in the program's signature line dance segment doing the memorable early 1970s dance step "the slo-mo".[4] What's Happening!! lasted from 1976 to 1979.

Berry was a millionaire by age 29 in 1980.[1] After the show ended, Berry, weighing over 300 lbs,[5] had trouble finding work because he was typecast with the Rerun character. Eventually, however, he came to embrace his typecasting, and made his peace with it as the best means to maintain his celebrity. In public, he was often seen wearing the red beret and suspenders that are part of the Rerun character.

During the 1980s, Berry battled drug addiction and alcoholism. He revived the character of Rerun in the series What's Happening Now!!, but he was only on that show for a year. Berry asked for more money than the rest of the cast (believing he was the reason people tuned in).[6] Berry's widow, Essie Berry, told Urbanite magazine at Georgia State University that their unwillingness to pay Fred Berry his due in both shows led to their early cancellations. During the 1990s, Berry became a Baptist minister[1] and lost 100 lbs after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.[5] He made a living during this time mostly through making public appearances as Rerun.

Berry made a brief appearance in Insane Clown Posse's film Big Money Hustlas as Bootleg Greg, a merchandise counterfeiter. In 1996, he made an appearance in Less Than Jake's video "Dopeman" (which was never aired on television). In the second season of the comedy television series Scrubs, he appeared in his iconic Rerun suspenders and beret in an extended dance sequence fantasized by Dr. John "JD" Dorian (which included a dozen others also wearing the same outfit).

For at least the Spring and Summer of 2001, and for an unknown duration, Berry toured with the UniverSoul Circus as his Rerun character. At that time, he was their sole celebrity performer and received accolades from the cast and circus patrons alike.[citation needed]

Berry appeared in the Snoop Dogg video "It's A Doggy Dogg World", which was a tribute to the black culture of the 1970s. He performed his legendary dance moves in a Soul Train line. He appeared in fellow Locker Toni Basil's music video "Shopping From A to Z". Berry returned to the screen in 1998 in the action movie In the Hood and appeared in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003), playing himself in a song at the end. His final role was in In the Land of Merry Misfits, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Personal life[edit]

Berry was married six times to four different women, the first two of whom he married twice.[1][7]

Berry had legally changed his middle name to Rerun after his success on What's Happening!!.

His daughter Portia Berry-Allen was in a Safe Auto commercial under the name "Lady Rerun".


On October 21, 2003, Berry died at his Los Angeles home, where he was recovering from a stroke.[5] He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.[8]



  1. ^ a b c d Kappes, Serena (2002-07-30). "Catch up with 'What's Happening!' star Fred Berry". Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  2. ^ The New York Times
  3. ^ The New York Times
  4. ^ Video on YouTube
  5. ^ a b c Silverman, Stephen M. (2003-10-23). "'70s Star Fred 'Rerun' Berry Dead at 52". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "What's Happening!!: Up From the Ashes". Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Peter, Hartlaub (2003-10-27). "Fred Berry's 'Rerun' a role to be cherished". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 3721). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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