|Birth name||Grady Lee Nutt|
September 2, 1934|
|Died||November 23, 1982
|Spouse||Eleanor Watkins (1957-1982; by his death)|
Grady Lee Nutt (September 2, 1934 – November 23, 1982) was a Southern Baptist minister, humorist, television personality, and author. His humor revolved around rural Southern Protestantism and earned him the title as "The Prime Minister of Humor."
Childhood and early career
Grady Lee Nutt was born in Amarillo, Texas, the oldest of four children (three sons and a daughter) born to Grady C. and Doris (née Rickman) Nutt. Reared in a family of devout Baptists, Nutt was a licensed minister by the age of 13.
Nutt briefly attended Wayland Baptist College in Plainview, Texas before transferring to Baylor University. Immediately after graduation, he married Eleanor Wilson and served as youth minister of the First Baptist Church of Waco and later at Gaston Avenue Baptist Church in Dallas.
In 1960, he moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he simultaneously pastored churches in the Louisville metro area. Following his graduation in 1964, he served as director of alumni affairs and assistant to the president of Southern Seminary.
While serving as a minister and seminary administrator, Nutt began accepting speaking engagements. His speeches were blended with humor, and he came to the attention of Ralph Edwards, the producer of the popular TV series Truth or Consequences and This Is Your Life. He was soon a semi-regular on The Mike Douglas Show.
In 1979, he was added to the regular cast of Hee Haw, a position he held until his death. During his stint on Hee Haw, he was given 90 – 120 seconds in which he would do an improvisational routine.
In 1981, he was cast as Rev. Grady Williams in a pilot for an NBC sitcom called The Grady Nutt Show. The episode dealt with Rev. Williams being called to preach the funeral of man disliked by the entire community, and dealing with his teenage daughter's foray into dating. The 30-minute pilot was broadcast on NBC, but had not yet been put into production as a series at the time of his death.
During his career, he published several books, including The Gospel According to Norton and an autobiography entitled So Good, So Far; he also released several comedic records and one Southern Gospel album, Give the World A Smile.
Death and legacy
On November 23, 1982, following a speaking engagement in Cullman, Alabama, Nutt boarded a chartered flight (a Beechcraft Baron 55, aircraft registration number N18411). The plane crashed immediately after takeoff, killing Nutt, the pilot and copilot. The cause of the crash was undetermined; however, weather conditions (fog and rain) were cited as contributing factors in the accident. He was buried on the Wilson family farm in Fayette County, Tennessee.
His widow has established the Grady Nutt Endowment Fund at the University of Louisville, which offers an annual prize of $400 to the most creative fine arts project. and a Grady Nutt memorial collection was established in the student center at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.
- Reuters (Wire Service) (1982-11-25). "Grady Nutt, TV Humorist Dies with 2 Other in Plane Crash". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- Anderson, H. Allen (n.d.). "Grady Lee Nutt". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- "Grady Nutt Collection" (undated). Archives and Special Collections. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Retrieved January 31, 2009.
- Grady Nutt at the Internet Movie Database
- "Interview with Grady Nutt. Bywords (Episode 196). Kentucky Educational Television. 1981 (original air-date unknown). Retrieved January 30, 2009.
- "The Grady Nutt Show". Yahoo!TV. Yahoo.com. n.d. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- "Grady Nutt: Author Search"]. Library of Congress Catalog.
- "Accident Report, Cullman, Alabama". National Transportation Safety Board November 23, 1982. Retrieved February 1, 2009
- Trisha Whitehead. "GMA Announces special Awards" Gospel Music Association
- Pugh, Ronnie (2005). "Grady Nutt". In W.K. McNeil. Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music. Rutledge. p. 281.
- Competition for The Grady Nutt Prize. University of Louisville
- Athletic Facilities Alice Lloyd College