DeKalb County

Metro Atlanta-born comedian James Gregory dies at 78, publicist confirms

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A longtime comedian from the metro Atlanta area died Thursday, according to a statement published by the star’s representatives.

According to an obituary statement from Nashville Publicity, the comedy legend James Greogy, Jr., born in Lithonia in DeKalb County, died from cardiac complications while in the care of members of his family. He was 78.

Born in a kitchen in Lithonia on May 6, 1946, Gregory was known for his deep Georgia accent and what his publicist called a down-home, common sense humor.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Before taking up stand-up comedy, Gregory was a salesman. He first took the stage in 1981 at Excelsior Mill in Atlanta, participating in the restaurant’s basement comedy night, according to a representative.

By the end of a year, he was taking the stage at Atlanta’s Punchline comedy club, working his way toward headliner status.


Described as a patriot, according to his representatives, Gregory was especially popular in the southeastern United States and would perform on multiple occasions for U.S. troops over the years.

“During Operation Enduring Freedom, he entertained soldiers on ships and aircraft carriers in Bahrain, and throughout Spain, Italy and Germany,” Nashville Publicity said.

According to Nashville Publicity, shortly before his death, Gregory completed an autobiography titled “A Bushel of Beans and a Peck of Tomatoes: The Life and Times of “The Funniest Man in America.” The book is set to be published by Post Hill Press in November.

The comic’s three nieces, who called him “Uncle Bubba,” Martha Anne, Mary Jane and Candie, as well as their families, cared for Gregory in his final days and weeks, according to his publicist. The family asks for privacy at this time.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]


Comments on this article