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Little Richard Biographer Remembers his Subject

The cover of David Kirby's 2009 biography of Little Richard.

1950s and 60s rock 'n roll star Little Richard's death was announced over the weekend. The music legend had a Tallahassee connection.
That connection is FSU Professor David Kirby who wrote an exhaustive biography of Little Richard in 2009. He said Little Richard was truly a self-made star.

"When you look at today's Grammy winners - God bless them - half of them were discovered when they were 10 years old, were groomed and had managers and publicists. Little Richard just clawed his way to the top at a very early age with nothing except a tremendous amount of talent and gumption."

But Kirby also thought Little Richard's impact went well beyond music to the culture at large.

"You know, Little Richard was out; Little Richard got out and that made it possible for other people to come out of the closet, too. And I say thank God for it to make a world we can all live in."

Little Richard left that world at the age of 87.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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