Redd Foxx Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Redd Foxx was an American comedian and actor born on December 9, 1922. He became famous for his bold comedy routines, especially during the civil rights era. Foxx earned the nickname “King of the Party Records” for his performances on over 50 comedy albums.

He is best remembered for his role as Fred G. Sanford on the TV show “Sanford and Son.” Foxx also starred in “The Redd Foxx Show” and “The Royal Family” where he played opposite Della Reese and was the grandfather of actor Larenz Tate.

Foxx appeared in several films including “All the Fine Young Cannibals,” “Cotton Comes to Harlem,” “Norman… Is That You?” and “Harlem Nights?”

In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Foxx 24th on their list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. His influence on comedy and popular culture was significantly characterized by his catchphrases, expressive body language, and facial expressions from “Sanford and Son.” During his career, he won a Golden Globe Award and received multiple Emmy Award nominations. Foxx was honored posthumously with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1992.

Full NameJohn Elroy Sanford (Redd Foxx)
Date of BirthDecember 9, 1922
DiedOctober 11, 1991
Place of BirthSt. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
OccupationComedian, Actor
Height5′ 7″ (1.72 m)
SpouseEvelyn Killebrew (m. 1948–1951)
Betty Jean Harris (m. 1956–1975)
Yun Chi Chung (m. 1976–1981)
Ka Ho Cho (m. 1991)
ChildrenDebraca Denise
Net Worth-$3.5 million

Redd Foxx’s Early Life and Education

Redd Foxx Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

John Elroy Sanford was born on December 9 1922 in St. Louis Missouri and grew up in Chicago’s South Side. His father Fred “Freddie” Sanford came from Hickman Kentucky and served in World War I. He worked as an electrician and mechanic but left the family around 1930.

Raised by his half-Seminole mother Mary Hughes from Ellisville, Mississippi, along with his grandmother and minister, Foxx attended DuSable High School in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood where he met future Chicago mayor Harold Washington. Foxx had two older brothers Fred Jr. and Leonard who passed away shortly after birth in 1921.

At 16 on July 27, 1939, Foxx performed on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour radio show as part of the Jump Swinging Six.

During the 1940s, Foxx became friends with Malcolm Little later known as Malcolm X while working as a dishwasher at Jimmy’s Chicken Shack in Harlem. Both had reddish hair earning Sanford the nickname “Chicago Red” and Malcolm “Detroit Red”.

Malcolm described Foxx as “the funniest dishwasher on this earth” in his autobiography. In World War II, Foxx avoided the draft by eating soap before his physical causing heart palpitations. On September 30, 1946, Foxx recorded five songs for the Savoy label under Teddy Reig’s direction.


Redd Foxx Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

In 1977, Redd Foxx left the TV show “Sanford and Son” after six seasons to star in a short-lived variety show on ABC. This move led to “Sanford and Son” being canceled by NBC. Foxx returned in 1980 to play Fred G. Sanford in a brief revival called “Sanford.”

In 1986, he tried another series “The Redd Foxx” Show on ABC but it was canceled after just 12 episodes due to poor ratings. Foxx even appeared in a Star Wars-themed special on the “Donny & Marie” show playing a character similar to Obi-Wan Kenobi and mentioning a planet named Sanford.

In 1989, Foxx appeared in the movie “Harlem Nights” which was written, directed, and starred Eddie Murphy.

Foxx later made a comeback with a short-lived TV series called “The Royal Family” where he acted alongside Della Reese.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Foxx owned a business on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. At this place, car owners could get their vehicles’ roofs “velvetized.” This process added a fuzzy velvety texture to the vinyl tops of certain cars especially those popularly known as “pimp-mobiles.” The business was named “Redd Foxx’s Car Velvetizing.”

Net Worth

Redd Foxx had an estimated net worth of -$3.5 million at the time of his death, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The main source of Redd Foxx’s net worth mainly came from his successful career as a comedian and actor. He was best known for his role as Fred Sanford on the popular TV show “Sanford and Son,” which aired in the 1970s and brought him widespread fame and financial success.

Additionally, Foxx earned money from his stand-up comedy performances, comedy albums, and other television appearances. Despite his earnings, he faced financial troubles later in life due to bad investments, legal issues, and extravagant spending.

Personal life

Redd Foxx Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Redd Foxx’s first marriage to Evelyn Killebrew in 1948, ended in divorce in 1951.

In 1956 on July 5th, he married Betty Jean Harris who was a showgirl and dancer. They met while performing at the same nightclub. Betty stopped her career to be a full-time housewife.

Redd adopted Betty’s nine-year-old daughter who then took on the name “Foxx.” Betty managed Redd’s business ventures like his record stores in Los Angeles. They separated in 1974 due to Redd’s infidelity.

After 18 years of marriage, Redd Foxx filed for divorce in May 1974 citing incompatibility. He also got a court order preventing Betty from taking their property or hiding money. Betty had to return $110000 she took from their bank accounts. Redd did not attend their daughter’s wedding in 1975.

Redd married his third wife Joi Yun Chi Chung at the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas on December 31, 1976. Joi who was 20 years younger met Redd while working as a cocktail waitress at the Las Vegas Hilton shortly after moving from Korea.

They divorced in 1981 after Redd filed for divorce in 1979 and Joi countered with charges of cruelty. Redd stated to Jet magazine during their divorce that he was done with marriage after three tries preferring to focus on his children.

In July 1991, Redd Foxx married Ka Ho Cho from Seoul South Korea. They met at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Despite his previous aversion to marriage, Redd explained to Jet magazine that he married Kaho because she supported him through his IRS troubles and believed in his future success.

They wed at the Little Church of the West in Las Vegas and celebrated with a reception at the Hacienda Hotel.


Redd Foxx Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

On October 11, 1991, while taking a break from rehearsals for “The Royal Family,” Redd Foxx had a heart attack on set. Della Reese a fellow actor recounted that Foxx was chatting with a reporter from Entertainment Tonight when the incident happened. The scene he was supposed to be in wasn’t ready so he and Reese were practicing instead. Foxx didn’t have any lines in that scene and was pulled away from the interview by a producer who insisted he be there.

Foxx managed to do his part in the scene as scripted but he collapsed immediately afterward. At first, no one realized something was seriously wrong because Foxx was known for his comedic fake heart attacks on “Sanford and Son” and was skilled at comic falls. Reese realized the severity when Foxx didn’t get up and heard him asking for his wife. She called for paramedics right away.

Despite efforts to revive him, Foxx was pronounced dead at Queen of Angels Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center about four and a half hours after being admitted. He was buried at Palm Memorial Park in Las Vegas. His mother Mary Sanford Carson survived him by two years and was buried next to him.