Grady Nutt (1934-1982) The Prime Minister of Humor by Jerry Kirksey From The Singing News, January 1983 (Reprinted by permission 2011)
Grady Nutt was a minister by ordination, professional entertainer by occupation, writer by vocation, a graduate of Southern Theological Seminary by matriculation, and a finder, enjoyer, and proclaimer of all things funny by inclination. Grady Nutt was born in Amarillo, Texas. He met his wife to be, Eleanor, while they were students at Baylor University. Grady and Eleanor have two sons, Perry and Toby. Grady Received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University in 1957, and his Master of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. In 1964, Grady served as assistant to the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 1964-1969. He had also served as Pastor of the Graefenburg Baptist Church, Graefenburg, Kentucky; as the Minister of Music at Southside Baptist in Louisville, Kentucky; and as the Youth Minister of the First Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.
During the time that Grady served as Assistant to the President of the seminary, he was doing a talk show produced by Ralph Edwards. Grady was seen by Mike Douglas. The result was eleven appearances on the Mike Douglas Show.
In 1969, facing an overwhelming number of speaking invitations, Grady decided that the time had come for the born "Nutt" to wing-it as a full-time speaker and entertainer. Success followed almost immediately. At the time of his death, Grady was seen by 25 million people each week on the popular TV program, "Hee Haw". Grady was the author of four books published by Broadman Press and The Benson Publishing Company. He had recorded several albums for The Benson Company, and a new album featuring Grady and The Kingsman Quartet has been released. This new album features Grady singing and he did a fantastic job.
The Singing News was honored to have had Grady as the Master of Ceremonies of our Fan Awards program at the National Quartet Convention in 1981. Grady had appeared at the convention in 1980. Embodied in this hymn singer, was a six-foot four-inch storyteller, humorist, minister, writer, a 210lb. family enjoyer, insight-giver, and life-celebrator, He was an unusual "Nutt", open and eager to unshell the ordinary and allow the treasures of truth and humor to spill out on those who heard him.
Grady was killed on Tuesday, November 23, 1982, in Vinemont, Alabama. The light plane that he was traveling in crashed on takeoff.
Grady's body has gone to rest, his soul to heaven, and his memory into the hearts of the millions who loved him.
I close with the words that Grady used to describe himself, "I am a humorist, a humorist isn't a comedian. He's not just tryin' to crack jokes...a humorist is an interpreter of life. He takes a common experience, something that's happened to everybody, and filters it through his own way of looking at things until it comes alive for another person who can say, Oh Yes! Right! That's the truth!"
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