It’s true……The late great John Elroy Sanford (Redd Foxx) or should I say Fred G. Sanford is from good ole St. Louis, Missouri. The actor best known for his role in Sanford and Son was born here on December 9th, 1922 but raised in Chicago, Ill.
Red Foxx was actually his stage name and he was given the name because of his red hair and complexion.
Redd started his career doing stand up comedy for the Chitlin’ Circuit in the 1940’s and 1950’s. These were venues in the eastern and southern U.S. states that were safe and acceptable for black entertainers to perform for at the time.
His popularity on the scene led to smaller television appearances and then finally his own show “Sanford and Son” in 1972. He played a cranky old man living with his son Lamont in Los Angeles where they both ran the family junk business. The show was hugely successful and ran till 1977. It was canceled after Foxx left the show to start a variety show which quickly proved to be an unsuccessful venture only lasting a year.
Redd Foxx’s career was badly hampered in the 1980’s due to problems with the law, marriage and the IRS.
His work during the 80’s included Viva Shaf Vegas (1986) and the Redd Foxx Show (1986).
In 1989, Redd was on the comeback trail with a great part in the movie “Harlem Nights” starring with actors such as Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Della Reese and Arsenio Hall.
On October 11th, 1991 Redd Foxx had a major heart attack and died suddenly on the set of the show “The Royal Family”. Almost 20 years after the start of Sanford and Son he was beginning to once again experience major success and stardom and unfortunately the world did not get to see that success nor did he.
Redd was married 4 times and had one adopted child….a daughter named Debreca Foxx.
I can’t speak for everybody in this city but I can certainly say that I’m proud that Redd Foxx is a St. Louis native. He has and will continue to be sorely missed.