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WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Catch up with 'What's Happening!' star Fred Berry

Berry overcame drug addiction and now works as a celebrity spokesperson

Berry
Fred Berry appeared on "The Weakest Link" in November 2001. Inset: Berry in "What's Happening!"  


By Serena Kappes
PEOPLE

(PEOPLE) -- Though he may not be able to jump-step as high as he used to, Fred Berry, the actor who played good-natured dancing machine Rerun on the late 1970s sitcom "What's Happening!" and its 1980s spin-off, "What's Happening Now!," can do his share of fancy footwork. "I'm glad I can still kick a few steps," he says.

Berry, 51, keeps Rerun alive making appearances as a pitchman for various companies through his business, Celeb-Events International, dressed in the character's signature red beret and baggy pants. "I'm working on my career on a corporate level now," he explains. "They have celebrity weekends where they bring me out to sell (products to clients)." His dancing is much easier these days, because he has lost more than 100 pounds since "Happening."

The Virginia Beach, Virginia-based Berry also keeps busy as a minister. "I'm not the ordinary orthodox pat-you-on-the-head type," he says. "I'm the type of minister that will get in your face. I'm real because it's a real world out there."

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That's a fact that Berry knows all too well. Raised in a St. Louis housing project, Berry was working as a dancer in the troupe the Lockers when he auditioned for and won the role of Rerun. Though he gained fame and money -- "I was a millionaire by the time I was 29," he told PEOPLE in 1996 -- Berry lost his focus. "The stress of success got to me. The fat jokes got to me. And I got heavily into drugs and alcohol. I was empty inside," he told the magazine that year. In 1985, Berry found help for his addictions through a support group and has remained clean since.

His personal life has also been bumpy. The father of three -- DeShannon, 26; Portia, 21; and Freddy, 13 -- has been married six times, to four women (he remarried his first two wives twice each). He's separated from his sixth wife, whom he won't name: "She's been trying to get her 15 minutes of fame from me off of my name and my career ever since we got married," he says. "I don't want to give her that pleasure."

Forever emblazoned in people's minds as Rerun, Berry is happy to be connected to that role. "I'm still called Rerun and I love it!" he says. "People ask me to dance every day, no matter where I am -- in the grocery store or in the boardroom."

Jesus Trivino contributed to this report


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