This Day in Black History: Dec. 9, 1922

Redd Foxx, comedian and actor, was born.

Posted: 12/09/2013 12:15 AM EST

Redd Foxx, the legendary comedian and actor, was best known for his starring role in the 1970s sitcom Sanford and Son, as the character Fred Sanford.

He was born John Elroy Sanford in St. Louis on Dec. 9, 1922, and gained increasing notoriety with is off-color nightclub routine in the 1950s and 1960s. He made more than 50 records of his routine, which led him to become known as the “King of the Party Records.”

In the 1940s, Foxx became friends with Malcolm Little, who would later become known internationally as Malcolm X. In Malcolm X’s autobiography, he referred to Foxx as “Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth.”

By the 1970s, he had become a successful star of the television show Sanford and Son, and also starred in other television shows such as Sanford, The Redd Foxx Show and The Royal Family. His film roles included parts in All the Fine Young Cannibals and Harlem Nights.

He died in 1991 during a break from rehearsals for The Royal Family. After his death, he was recognized by Comedy Central as the 24th in its listing of top 100 stand-up comedians.

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 (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

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