Redd Foxx Unisex T-Shirt
Finally, a way to show your respect for some of the greatest icons, legends and pioneers that paved the way past and present. Rock this gear in style and bring back the moments that made you, memories they gave you and/or lessons they taught you. Scroll down for a history lesson with some of our favorite clips.
Welcome to the Respect Due family Redd Foxx! We salute you.
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Celebrity Underrated – The Redd Foxx Story
John Elroy Sanford (December 9, 1922 – October 11, 1991), better known by his stage name Redd Foxx, was an American stand-up comedian and actor best known for his portrayal of Fred G. Sanford on the hit television show Sanford and Son. Foxx gained success with his raunchy nightclub acts during the 1950s and 1960s. Known as the “King of the Party Records”, he performed on more than 50 records in his lifetime. He also starred on TV in The Redd Foxx Show and The Royal Family. His film projects included All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960), Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Norman… Is That You? (1976) and Harlem Nights (1989).
In 2004 Foxx ranked 24th in Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. Foxx not only influenced many comedians but was often portrayed in popular culture as well, mainly as a result of his catchphrases, body language and facial expressions exhibited on Sanford and Son. During the show’s five-year run, Foxx won a Golden Globe Award and received an additional three nominations, along with three Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
Foxx was posthumously given a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1992.
Why Redd Foxx Quit ‘Sanford & Son’ – Here’s Why
Foxx’s raunchy nightclub act proved successful. After performing on the East Coast, his big break came after singer Dinah Washington insisted that he come to Los Angeles, where Dootsie Williams of Dootone records caught his act at the Brass Rail nightclub. Foxx was one of the first black comics to play to white audiences on the Las Vegas Strip. He was signed to a long-term contract and released a series of comedy albums that quickly became cult favorites.
Sanford and Son
Foxx achieved his most widespread fame starring in the television sitcom Sanford and Son, an adaptation of the BBC series Steptoe and Son. Foxx played the role of Fred G. Sanford (“Fred Sanford” was actually Foxx’s father’s and brother’s name), while co-star Demond Wilson played the role of his son Lamont. In this sitcom, Fred and Lamont were owners of a junk/salvage store in Watts, California, who dealt with many humorous situations. The series was notable for its racial humor and overt prejudices which helped redefine the genre of black situation comedy.
The series premiered on the NBC television network on January 14, 1972 and was broadcast for six seasons. In 1974, Foxx was sued for $10 million by Tandem Productions, producers of the show, for not showing up to start taping the new season. The final episode aired on March 25, 1977.
The show also had several running gags. When angry with Lamont, Fred would often say “You big dummy” or would often fake heart attacks by putting his hand on his chest and saying (usually while looking up at the sky) “It’s the big one, I’m coming to join ya honey/Elizabeth” (referring to his late wife). Fred would also complain about having “arthur-itis” to get out of working by showing Lamont his cramped hand. Foxx depicted a character in his 60s, although in real life he was a decade younger.
Foxx used his starring role on Sanford and Son to help get jobs for his acquaintances such as LaWanda Page, Slappy White, Gregory Sierra, Don Bexley, Beah Richards, Stymie Beard, Leroy Daniels, Ernest Mayhand and Noriyuki “Pat” Morita.
Demond Wilson was asked whether he kept in touch with everybody from Sanford & Son, especially the series’ star himself, after the series was canceled: “No. I saw Redd Foxx once before he died, circa 1983, and I never saw him again. At the time I was playing tennis at the Malibu Racquet Club and I was approached by some producers about doing a Redd Foxx 50th Anniversary Special. I hadn’t spoken to him since 1977, and I called the club where (Redd) was playing. And we met at Redd’s office, but he was less than affable. I told those guys it was a bad idea. I never had a cross word with him. People say I’m protective of Redd Foxx in my book (Second Banana, Wilson’s memoir of the Sanford years). I had no animosity toward Foxx for (quitting the show in 1977) because I had a million dollar contract at CBS to do Baby I’m Back. My hurt was that he didn’t come to me about throwing the towel in – I found out in the hallway at NBC from a newscaster. I forgave him and I loved Redd, but I never forgot that. The love was there. You can watch any episode and see that.”
Post-Sanford and Son
In 1977, Foxx left Sanford and Son after six seasons to star in a short-lived ABC variety show, resulting in the cancellation of the NBC series. In 1980 he was back playing Fred G. Sanford in a short-lived revival/spin-off, Sanford. In 1986, he returned to television in the ABC series The Redd Foxx Show, which was cancelled after 12 episodes because of low ratings. Foxx appeared as an Obi-Wan Kenobi-like character in the Star Wars special of the Donny & Marie show. In an homage to his show, he mentioned the planet Sanford, which has no sun. Foxx made a comeback with the short-lived series The Royal Family, in which he co-starred with Della Reese.
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