Mostly Credited As: Redd Foxx
Birth Name: John Elroy Sanford
Date Of Birth: December 09, 1922 (Age 68)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: St. Louis, Missouri
Date Of Death: October 11, 1991
Cause Of Death: heart attack (Los Angeles, CA)
Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)
Redd Foxx was born John Elroy Sanford in St. Louis, Missouri and raised on Chicago's south side. His mother was a minister who was part Cherokee Indian. His father, who was an electrician, left the family when Sanford was only four year old. He briefly attended DuSable High School with future Chicago mayor Harold Washington, but never graduated. During World War II, Sanford used illegal means to avoid being drafted. Afterwords, he started to turn to crime. He moved to New York in the early 1940s. Foxx became a well-known associate of Malcolm Little, who would later be known as Malcolm X.
Sanford was dubbed "Chicago Red," due to his "ruddy complexion". His second stage name was taken from baseball star Jimmie Foxx. Foxx gained attention with his raunchy nightclub act. His stand-up performances were later released as "party" albums and became very popular. Foxx paved the way for black comedians such as Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock. He was also one of the first black comics at the time to play to white audiences on the Las Vegas Strip. Foxx got the role of Fred Sanford on Sanford and Son in 1972 and used his new found fame to to help get jobs for his friends like LaWanda Page, Slappy White, and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. Foxx also constantly battled with producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin for higher paychecks and creative control of the show.
In 1977, Sanford and Son was canceled. Foxx soon got a short lived variety show. In the early 1980s he revived his role as Fred Sanford in a brief revival/spin-off, Sanford. Foxx had numerous battles with the IRS that resulted in a 1989 "raid" in which agents seized his house and assets. Foxx attempted a comeback when he starred in the 1991 series The Royal Family with longtime friend Della Reese. Tragically, he suffered a fatal heart attack on the set. Today, Foxx is remembered and respected as a legendary comedian who paved the path for today's comics.