And now Dick Gregory, 51, has introduced his Slim/Safe Bahamian Diet. Yes, the very same Dick Gregory who for the past 20 years has regularly fasted on behalf of civil rights and peace and to end world hunger.
The comedian-activist unveiled his new weight-loss powder on Labor Day weekend at the Whole Life Expo in Boston (left). "It's cool to be healthy," he assured a cheering throng of aging hippies and holistic types. The formula he revealed consists of (among other things) cucurbita pepo seed, agropyron triticeum powder and malpighia glabra—all vegetable substances that, Gregory says, are good for you. Mixed with orange juice and drunk three times a day, the "7-day rapid-weight-loss" powder supplies a mere 700 calories. "It sounds like another faddish diet," cautions Dr. Thomas Wadden, a psychologist with a University of Pennsylvania obesity research group. "Unless combined with an exercise and behavior modification program, most quick weight loss is followed by equally quick weight gain." Claims Gregory, "We've been working on this for 15 years. A lot of different companies wanted to buy my formula."
Gregory recently signed a multimillion-dollar distribution contract with a Midwestern health foods company that will retail the diet through the mail at $19.95 per 16 ounces. That may be quite a windfall for someone who has been living with his wife and 10 kids on a Massachusetts farm.
"I won't change," Gregory promises, envisioning a big success. "I'll be the same old Dick." The excess monies gleaned from America's overweight, he says, will go to his favorite charities, including the Salvation Army, the National Urban League, the United Negro College Fund and Amnesty International. But Gregory admits that he has caught the entrepreneurial itch. Next he plans to market wheat germ candy bars, a nondairy ice cream, a salt substitute and a nonalcoholic beer, not to mention a car that gets 100 miles to the gallon.
Jerry Rubin went Wall Street. Bobby Seale hawks barbecue cookbooks. Jane Fonda flogs aerobics. The '60s have finally ended, not with a bang but with the clang of a cash register.