Redd Foxx, one of the most interesting and funny entertainers we have ever known, was born John Elroy Sanford in 1922. When he was a teen he decided his calling was to be a performer. He got the nickname Red when he lived in Harlem and people started calling him that because of his reddish complexion. Later, he took the name Foxx from one of his favorite baseball players and added a second D to his nickname. His stage name thus became Redd Foxx. In the 50s and 60s, he became well known for his stand-up comedy which was extremely racy for the time. But his real fame came from the sitcom of the 1980s Sanford and Son. Later he guest-starred on several variety shows and became a regular in Las Vegas. Redd Foxx passed away in 1991, but surprisingly his demise brought a few surprises with it.
Redd Foxx, who played Fred Sanford was a highly amusing character on the TV show in the 1970s. In the show, he was a junk businessman who worked with his son. The plot focused on the constant confrontations between the two. Foxx played a stubborn old character who always wanted to play a fast one on his son. Redd Foxx became a comedy legend and he was the mentor to many younger comedians up until the day he died. So it was quite surprising to see that Redd Foxx died almost penniless. Foxx spent years touring the country, working in stand-up comedy. He won awards for his role on Sanford & Son and made millions of people laugh. But in 1991 he passed away and he was penniless. Even so, he was given the funeral he deserved, and you will never guess who footed the bill – Eddie Murphy.
In the 1980s Redd Foxx starred in Harlem Nights with Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor. Even today, Harlem Nights remains a classic and is still watched and loved by many. Redd Foxx was always working but he never received the pay he deserved for the caliber of work he did. Because of this, he did not have very much money and died completely penniless. Foxx passed on in October of 1991, and Eddie Murphy stepped in. Murphy could not let his mentor and hero be placed in an unmarked grave so he paid the bill for an elegant send-off. Eddie Murphy once said in an interview that he loved Redd Foxx and the many had been his mentor for many years. Murphy explained that some people in show business were just not paid what they were worth in the early days, and Redd Foxx was one of them. Murphy loved Redd so he stepped up and paid for the funeral and headstone Redd so deserved. Because Foxx’s widow did not have the money for a celebrity funeral, Murphy gave him the send-off he deserved, a celebration of his life in comedy. Foxx worked as a stand-up comedian in the 50s and 60s and was best known for his raunchy language, something no other comedian was doing at the time, and it gave him a triple “X” rating. Foxx dies while still working. He was on set for a new sitcom “The Royal Family.”