Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Redd Foxx

Redd Foxx was born on December 9Th, 1922 and lived to be 69 years old. He passed away on October 11Th, 1991. He was born John Elroy Sanford, and he was best known for his starring role on the television sitcom 'Sanford and Son.

Foxx was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised on Chicago's South Side. His father left the family when Foxx was four. He was raised by his mother, his minister, and his grandmother. He briefly attended DuSable High School with future Chicago mayor Harold Washington, but never graduated. Moving to New York in the early 1940s, he was an associate of Malcolm Little later known as Malcolm X. In Malcolm's autobiography, Foxx is referred to as "Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth." Foxx earned the nickname due to his reddish hair and complexion. His second stage name was taken from baseball star Jimmie Foxx. In May of 1967, Redd Foxx was the only artist to be invited to Elvis Presley's wedding at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

^You Big Dummy lol^
Mr. Fred Sanford Himself
Red Foxx

The character of Fred Sanford was named after Foxx's own brother, Fred, who had died. Foxx was in his early 50s when he played the 65-year-old Sanford.

He was also one of the first black comics to play to white audiences on the Las Vegas strip. Foxx used his starring role on Sanford and Son to help get jobs for his friends such as La Wanda Page, Slappy White, Gregory Sierra, and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. Foxx also battled with producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin for higher paychecks and creative control of the show. Writer Alan Rafkin touched on some of Foxx's clashes with Lear and Yorkin in the book Cue the Bunny on the Rainbow. Foxx does not appear in six episodes at the end of the third season, and three at the beginning of the fourth, because of problems with producers. "Fred Sanford's" best friend "Grady", played by Whitman Mayo, took his place.

Foxx appeared ringside at the famous boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner (the match that inspired actor Sylvester Stallone to write the movie Rocky) near Cleveland, Ohio in 1975. Foxx also served as co-commentator.

Personal Thoughts:

So around the time that 'Nick at Nite' began playin all the old re-runs I was becoming more and more of a Redd Foxx fan. Watching him order his TV son Lamont around and calling him a dummy was Hilarious to me. Being a huge fan of comedy already I naturally loved his work. My father was a big fan of the show as well so I guess it just made me like it that much more. Looking back at it I feel that he is one of Histories over looked black comedians, so I figured that blogging about him this month was my way of shedding some light on a man who so often ends up in the shadows in the memories of the average person.

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