FAN ATTEMPTS TO STRANGLE RAY CHARLES DURING BENEFIT CONCERT
A deranged fan hopped on the stage and attempted to strangle Ray Charles with a rope today (February 28, 1977).
The attack occurred during a benefit for Rosey Grier’s Los Angeles based nonprofit, Giant Step.
Celebrities like a Aretha Franklin, Ben Vereen and Jackie Onassis were among the 3,000 people who attended the concert, which took place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
As Ray Charles was singing “I Can See Clearly,” a young black man hopped on the stage and accosted the blind singer.
After a brief struggle, Ray Charles’ manager Warren Stevens rushed the stage and pried the man off of Ray Charles.
The singer was whisked off the stage, only to return a few moments later to continue his performance.
It was later revealed that the man who attacked Ray Charles was a member of Giant Step.
Ray Charles refused to press charges, because the man claimed he had a divine intervention, when he forcefully grabbed the singer.
Apparently, the man thought that he could bring sight to Ray Charles, and as he hugged the famed singer he screamed “I love you Ray. You can see, you can see.”
The concert went on to raise over $120,000 for Rosey Grier’s nonprofit.