REDD FOXX Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Redd Foxx                                                                       
Born: 9 December 1922 St. Louis, Missouri, USA                                         
Died: 11 October 1991 Los Angeles, California                                         
Redd Foxx (December 9, 1922 - October 11, 1991), born John Elroy Sanford, was         
an American comedian 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           
mother was part Seminole, making Foxx one quarter Seminole. His father, an             
electrician, 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 a well-known associate of Malcolm Little (later known       
as Malcolm X). According to Malcolm's autobiography, Foxx was a dishwasher in         
the speakeasy where Malcolm worked as a waiter. (While Little was known as "Detroit   
Red", having grown up in Michigan, Foxx was dubbed "Chicago Red", due to his           
reddish hair and complexion. His second stage name was taken from baseball star       
Jimmie Foxx.)                                                                         
Foxx gained notoriety with his nightclub act (considered by many to be raunchy).       
His stand-up performances were later released as "party" albums and became very       
popular. Foxx paved the way for later black comedians such as Richard Pryor,           
Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle.                                           
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 LaWanda Page, Slappy White, 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.               
In 1977, Sanford and Son was cancelled and Foxx struck out on his own by               
starring in a short-lived variety show, but by the early 1980s he was back             
playing Fred Sanford in a brief revival/spin-off, Sanford.                             
Foxx appeared to be making a comeback with the 1991 series The Royal Family, in       
which he co-starred with his long-time friend Della Reese. During a break from         
rehearsals on October 11, 1991, a fatal heart attack felled him on the set.           
Reportedly, Reese and the rest of the cast and crew thought he was doing his           
classic (and in this case, ironic) "I'm coming, Elizabeth" fake heart attack           
routine he made famous on Sanford and Son, even going as far as collapsing to         
the floor, although that was not part of the usual schtick. However, this             
heart attack was real, and Foxx never regained consciousness. He was 68 years