Oscar DeGruy, the actor who gave life to the gang leader Mad Dog on the ‘70s show “Good Times,” is no longer working in front of the cameras. These days, he’s working to make the world a better place by helping the youth.
DeGruy started his career back in 1970 with an appearance on the series “The Young Lawyers.” He also took part in other TV shows like “The Bill Cosby Show,” “Room 222,” “Toma” and “The Streets of San Francisco.”
However, he’s mostly remembered by the audience for his role as Mad Dog in the two-part episode “The Gang” from the sitcom “Good Times.” DeGruy gave life to a young man who wounded JJ, and that his mother confronts in a heartwrenching scene where the woman tells him she hates him.
Mad Dog’s character grew up without a paternal figure, and JJ’s father eventually takes pity on the boy for it.
While in the fiction he was a thug, in real life DeGruy has always been working for the community. He was a member of the Black Panthers and always fought to bring equality to minorities, especially black folks, and underprivileged kids.
Back in the middle ‘70s, he and his late wife Freddie bought a performing arts theater, where they put together the art of step and street dancing with the Bahá’í principles of equality, racial harmony and unity of all religions to create the Baha’i Youth Workshops.
By 1995, DeGruy had made over 100 workshops across the country and over 50 all around the world.
These days, DeGruy is no longer working on the workshops, but he still maintains the same Bahá’í philosophy to manage his Insight Foundation, an organization created to “empower young people through combined innovative methods and insight-oriented techniques.”
DeGruy runs the foundation with the help of his sister, Dr. Joy DeGruy, a renowned researcher, author and educator who has become famous for her work on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, Culture Specific Models and Violence and Gang Prevention.
According to Insight’s website, Oscar DeGruy’s has his objectives clear, as he looks forward to:
“Brings educators and community members together to help students develop the values and skills required to cope with the personal and social issues that challenge their everyday lives.”
Although Oscar is no longer working as an actor, it hasn’t been that long since he last appeared on the screen. His last role was in the 2008 film “Zero Option,” based on a true story.