10/24/1997 AT 12:00 AM EDT
Civil rights era satirist and political activist Dick Gregory, 67, was honored last night at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where he was saluted by emcee Bill Cosby, as well as Stevie Wonder, Issac Hayes, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Cicely Tyson and Coretta Scott King, reports the Associated Press. Last year, Gregory was diagnosed with lymphoma. Much of Gregory's material in the early '60s was groundbreaking and opened the doors for such other comics as Godfrey Cambridge and, later, Richard Pryor. In his own later years, Gregory, who used to smoke a cigarette as he delivered his material onstage, became an advocate for good health and nutrition.