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Don Bexley

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Donald Thomas "Don" Bexley (March 10, 1910 – April 15, 1997) appeared as Fred's (Redd Foxx) loyal but dim witted (at least how Fred insultingly perceives him) friend and sidekick Bubba Bexley on Sanford and Son. Don was a standup comedian on the Chitlin' Circuit as a solo act and as part of comedy teams, during which time he became acquainted with Redd Foxx. Bexley recorded party albums with partner Dave Turner and worked constantly throughout the United States. His greatest exposure came from his Sanford and Son appearances. He appeared as the same character in the Sanford and Son spin-off series The Sanford Arms. His other television credits include the ABC-TV series T.J. Hooker, and Laverne & Shirley, NBC-TV's Cheers, Hunter, and CBS's The Royal Family series, which co-starred his longtime friends Redd and Della Reese. He was the MC and comedian in the 1976 movie Sparkle. He retired from show business in the 1980s and returned to his native Virginia.

Bexley maintained a close friendship with Redd Foxx, until Foxx's 1991 death, and was an honorary pallbearer at Foxx's funeral.

Death Edit

Don Bexley died on April 15, 1997, at the age of 87, in City of Hampton where he made his home, death due to heart and kidney failure. Reportedly survived by a daughter. Bexley was buried at Hampton Memorial Gardens, in City of Hampton. As of 2010, a temporary gravestone marked his grave.

*UPDATE ON DON BEXLEY GRAVE MARKER: On June 28th 2013 a couple from Williamsburg, VA started a fundraising campaign titled "The Donald T. "Bubba" Bexley Grave Marker Fundraiser" to purchase Mr. Bexley a proper grave marker. In seven days they were able to raise the necessary funds, combined with their own contribution, to purchase the marker with the help of family, friends and fellow fans. The new marker is be expected to be placed at his resting place by late summer of 2013.

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Obituary from Daily Press, Hampton Roads,VA-

`Sanford And Son' Comedian Dies At 87 April 18, 1997|By SAM MCDONALD Daily Press HAMPTON — Donald T. Bexley, a comedian and actor best known for his portrayal of Bubba Hoover on TV's "Sanford and Son," died Tuesday in Hampton.

He was 87.

Mr. Bexley died of heart and kidney failure, according to his friend and confidant, Clarence Williams Sr. of Hampton.

After spending much of his life in Los Angeles, Mr. Bexley came to Hampton 13 months ago to share an apartment with Williams. His friend agreed to be Mr. Bexley's care-giver after the actor broke his hip while in Los Angeles in late 1995. Williams, a Peninsula native, met Mr. Bexley while working as an agent and promoter in Los Angeles in the late '70s. Mr. Bexley was born March 10, 1910, in Detroit. His father was a Bible scholar and teacher, his mother a classical vocalist. But the youngster showed early aptitude as a comic. "I was born with a flair for the stage, as I had always been a clown - even during early adolescence," he wrote in 1983.

While working as a stand-up comic in the Catskill mountains of New York in the 1940s, Mr. Bexley developed the expressive, physical style of comedy that he later used to get laughs on "Sanford and Son." That NBC comedy series aired 1972-1977 and starred Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson. It has enjoyed a long life in syndication.

Mr. Bexley maintained a close friendship with Foxx after the series ended. In 1991 he served as an honorary pallbearer at Foxx's funeral.

In addition to "Sanford and Son," Mr. Bexley occasionally appeared in the TV series "Hunter" and "Laverne and Shirley."

He was also a singer and dancer. Early in his career, he performed with a dance group called Three Shades of Rhythm. And before his television debut, he did theater in Los Angeles and New York.

Recently, Mr. Bexley was writing for stage and television. Williams said the actor had completed several scripts, although he knew of no current plans to produce them.

Williams said Mr. Bexley remained in good spirits during most of his time in Hampton. "He was still funny up until the day he passed," Williams said. "He always had a punch line for you."

Mr. Bexley enjoyed meeting fans and signing autographs, Williams said. He had appeared at several local events, including a talent contest at Newmarket Fair Mall in June and Aberdeen Day last fall.

A public memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at Cooke Bros. Funeral Chapel, 1601 27th St., Newport News. Burial will be at Hampton Memorial Gardens.

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