Redd Foxx
Redd Foxx
Redd Foxx in The Royal Family TV series
Vital Information
Gender: Male
Nationality American
Ethnicity Black
Nickname Redd Foxx, Redd, Chicago Red
Height 5'10"
Weight 188
Birthname: John Elroy Sanford
Born: (1922-12-09)December 9, 1922
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died October 11, 1991(1991-10-11) (aged 68)
Deathplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Stand up-comedian, actor, entertainer
Years active: 1936-1991, his death
Known for:
roles on ABC-TV's The Redd Foxx Show and CBS-TV's The Royal Family with Della Reese
Family/Personal information
Spouse(s): Evelyn Killebrew (1948–1951) (divorced)
Betty Jean Harris (1956–1975) (divorced)
Yun Chi Chung (1976–1981) (divorced)
Ka Ho Cho (1991) (his death)
Related to: Debraca (Stepdaughter)
Character/series involvement
Appeared on/
Involved with:
Sanford and Son
Episodes appeared in: All
Character(s) played: Fred Sanford
Sanford and Son retro Wiki Script

John Elroy Sanford, commonly known as Redd Foxx is a legendary stand-up comic perfomer, singer, and entertainer Redd Foxx played the title role of Fred G. Sanford, a junkman in the Watts area section in Los Angeles on Sanford and Son. The title character took the name from Redd's brother, who was named Fred Sanford.

Early lifeEdit

Redd was born John Elroy Sanford on December 9, 1922 in St. Louis, Missouri and raised on Chicago's South Side. His mother was half Seminole Indian. His father, an electrician, left his family when Foxx was four years old. Foxx was raised by his mother, his minister, and his grandmother. He briefly attended DuSable High School with future Chicago mayor Harold Washington.

In the 1940s, he became accquainted Malcolm Little, later known as Malcolm X, while working on passenger trains which ran from New York City to Boston. In Alex Haley's The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Foxx is referred to by Malcolm X as "Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth." Foxx earned the nickname due to his reddish hair and complexion. His stage surname was taken from baseball star Jimmie Foxx. During World War II, Foxx dodged the draft by eating half a bar of soap before his physical, a trick that resulted in heart palpitations.[1]


Nightclub actEdit

Redd gained notoriety with his nightclub act (considered by the standards of the time to be raunchy). 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 signed to a long-term contract and released a series of comedy albums that quickly became cult favorites.[2]

He was also one of the first black comics to play to white audiences on the Las Vegas Strip. He used his starring role on Sanford and Son to help get jobs for his friends such as LaWanda Page, Slappy White, Gregory Sierra, Don Bexley, Leroy Daniels, Ernest Mayhand and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita.

Sanford and SonEdit

Foxx achieved his most widespread fame starring in the television sitcom comedy Sanford and Son, an adaptation of the BBC series, Steptoe and Son, which premiered on the NBC television network on January 14, 1972, and was broadcast for six seasons, the final episode airing on March 25, 1977. Foxx played the role of Fred G. Sanford ("Fred Sanford" was actually Foxx's brother's name), while Foxx's co-star Demond Wilson played the role of his son Lamont.

In the sixth season episode titled Fred Meets Redd (Season 6, episode #14), Redd plays a dual role as himself and Fred Sanford, as Fred auditions for and wins a Redd Foxx lookalike contest.

Post-Sanford and Son careerEdit

In 1977, Foxx left Sanford and Son, after six highly successful seasons (and the show was canceled solely due to his departure) to star in a short-lived variety show, but by 1980 he was back on NBC playing Fred G. Sanford in a brief revived spinoff series, titled Sanford. In 1986, he returned to series television in the ABC series The Redd Foxx Show, which was cancelled after 12 episodes due to low ratings.

Foxx appeared to make a comeback (until his death) with the 1990 CBS-TV series, The Royal Family, in which he co-starred with his long-time friend Della Reese.

Personal lifeEdit


Redd Foxx was married four times. His first marriage was to Evelyn Killebrew in 1948, but was short-lived and ended in divorce in 1951.

Redd's second marriage was to Betty Jean Harris, a showgirl and dancer, who was a colleague of LaWanda Page, who would later be known as Foxx's TV nemisis Aunt Esther on Sanford and Son. The couple wed on July 22, 1956. Foxx adopted Harris's daughter Debreca, who was about nine years old at the time and then assumed the surname "Foxx". The marriage ended in divorce in 1975. Redd then married Korean-American Yun Chi Chung in 1976, but the marriage was again brief, ending in 1981.

At the time of his death in 1991, Foxx was married to Ka Ho Cho, who used the name Ka Ho Foxx.[3]


  1. Black and Blue: The Redd Foxx Story
  2. Redd Foxx exits, laughing, by Mark Goodman for People magazine, October 28, 1991, accessed October 11, 2010
  3. Steve Friess, "Trying to Get Foxx's Estate Out of the Redd", AOL News, March 7, 2010

External linksEdit

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