October 21, 1917- January 6, 1993
John Birks Gillespie, better known as "Dizzy" for his comical antics on stage, was born in Cheraw, South Carolina. Dizzy began playing the trombone and trumpet at the age of 12. In 1932, he attended the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina, but left in 1935 to be with his family in Philadelphia. He joined a band there and relocated to New York in 1937 becoming a member of Teddy Hill's big band. In 1939, he joined Cab Calloway's BIG BAND and went on tour. Gillespie eventually left the BIG BAND (1941) and went on to work with legendary musical talents such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald etc.
If you grew up in the 80s... You may remember him as the man with the big cheeks. Especially from this episode of Cosby lls... peep the 2:40 mark..