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"I am what I am! Shut up!" So went the catchphrase shrieked by flamboyantly pompadoured R&B legend Little Richard whenever he made one of his frequent 1970s talk-show appearances. One of the earliest African American singers to cross over into the "white" charts, Little Richard was also among the first black pop artists of the 1950s to show up in a mainstream film. That production was 1956's The Girl Can't Help It, wherein Little Richard belted forth the title tune and a second number, "She's Got It." Most of Little Richard's subsequent film appearances have been guest shots, though he did have an extended supporting role -- playing a thinly disguised version of himself named "Orvis Goodnight" -- in the 1986 comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

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