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Also Known As: John Elroy Sanford Died: October 11, 1991
Born: December 9, 1922 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri, USA Profession: comedian, actor, dishwasher, sign painter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Original, gravel-voiced "dirty old man" comedian who, in the 1950s, was known to a limited audience for his x-rated standup material and under-the-counter recordings. Foxx became a household name, however, with his starring role as Fred G. Sanford (the name derived from his own real name), an irascible, scheming junkman, in the popular TV series "Sanford and Son" (1972-77). He went on to appear in the films "Cotton Comes to Harlem" (1970), "Norman... Is That You?" (1976) and "Harlem Nights" (1989), but died of a heart attack in 1991 after collapsing during a rehearsal of his TV comeback series, "The Royal Family".

Original, gravel-voiced "dirty old man" comedian who, in the 1950s, was known to a limited audience for his x-rated standup material and under-the-counter recordings. Foxx became a household name, however, with his starring role as Fred G. Sanford (the name derived from his own real name), an irascible, scheming junkman, in the popular TV series "Sanford and Son" (1972-77). He went on to appear in the films "Cotton Comes to Harlem" (1970), "Norman... Is That You?" (1976) and "Harlem Nights" (1989), but died of a heart attack in 1991 after collapsing during a rehearsal of his TV comeback series, "The Royal Family".

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Harlem Nights (1989) Bennie Wilson
2.
 Ghost of a Chance (1987) Ivory Clay
3.
 Norman...Is That You? (1976) Ben Chambers
4.
 Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) Uncle Bud
5.
 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time (2004) Honoree (Archival Footage)
7.
 Laugh, a Tear, A (1990)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in Chicago
1935:
Ran away from home at age 13 and joined a street-corner washboard band
1938:
Hopped a freight train to New York with his band; changed his name to Redd Foxx (from his red hair and Foxx from his stylish ways and the spelling of slugger Jimmie Foxx's name)
1939:
Member of amateur musical group the Bon Bons, Chicago
:
Did a short time in jail at Rikers Island for heisting a bottle of milk
:
Played the black vaudeville circuit, also known as the "chitlin circuit"
:
Worked as nightclub comedian
:
Teamed in comedy act with Slappy White
1954:
Recorded the first of his scatological "blue" records; "The Life of the Party" became his first underground hit
:
Began appearing on TV and in Las Vegas during the 1960s
1964:
First network TV appearance on "Today" show, hosted by Hugh Downs
:
Guest performer on "The Lucy Show", "The Addams Family", "Mr. Ed", "Green Acres" and "The Name of the Game" in the late 1960s
1970:
Feature film debut, "Cotton Comes to Harlem"
:
Starred as junkman Fred G Sanford in "Sanford and Son"
1977:
Hosted "The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour"
:
Returned as Fred Sanford on "Sanford and Son"
:
Owned five homes, a TV production company, a theatrical managament firm, a Los Angeles nightclub and a Hollywood beauty parlor during "Sanford and Sons" heyday
1989:
IRS raided his Las Vegas home, taking his car and other possessions after Foxx made an estimated $500,000 for his appearance in "Harlem Nights" (1989)
1991:
Starred as a grandfather in TV series "The Royal Family" (produced by his protegee Eddie Murphy)
1991:
Died a few hours after suffering a heart attack on "The Royal Family" set during a rehearsal
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"Long before Richard Pryor and others began skewering social taboos about sex, race and other delicate topics, Mr. Foxx was playing nightclubs and making 54 'party records'--spoken comedy with no music--a genre he claimed to have originated in 1956."--Nick Ravo ("New York Times" obituary, October 13, 1991)

"No one expected me to be on television because I had a reputation from the party records as X-rated, but that's the type of humor I like. That's the humor I heard in the ghettos. They didn't pull no punches, and they didn't want to hear about Little Boy Blue and Cinderella. So I gave them what they wanted. I busted loose."--Redd Foxx in a 1982 interview (quoted in the "New York Times" obituary, October 13, 1991)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Evelyn Killibrew. Divorced 1951.
wife:
Betty Jean Harris. Married 1956, divorced 1976.
wife:
Yun Chi Chung. Married 1978, divorced.
wife:
Kaho Cho. Model. Married July, 1991; Korean; fourth wife.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Fred Sanford. Electrician. Abandoned family.
mother:
Mary Alma Sanford. Minister.
step-daughter:
Debraca.

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