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David Frye, Nixon impressionist, dies at 77

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David-FryeImage Credit: CBS Photo Archive/Getty ImagesDavid Frye, a comedian who rose to national fame with his impression of President Richard M. Nixon in the late ’60s and early 1970s, has died in Las Vegas at age 77 of cardiopulmonary arrest, according to the New York Times, citing a rep for the Clark County coroner’s office in Nevada.

Frye’s political impressions in the late ’60s, including figures such as Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, began his breakthrough. See this clip he posted on YouTube of an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Christmas Special in 1967 (see video after the jump):

His career really took off during the Nixon administration, when Frye (born David Shapiro) became a regular presence on television, and a headline act in clubs. He recorded four comedy albums in the early ’70s, including I Am the President (1970); Radio Free Nixon and Richard Nixon Superstar (1971); and Richard Nixon: A Fantasy (1973).

Nixon’s resignation caused Frye’s national star to fade, but he continued working, releasing He’s Back! David Frye Is Nixon in 1996, and Clinton: An Oral History in 1998.

For more, see the David Frye Impressions channel on YouTube.

Originally posted January 29 2011 — 3:14 PM EST

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