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Redd Foxx: The St. Louis Don

In life there are people born who leave an everlasting impression. One of the greatest gifts a person can obtain during their existence is to never be forgotten. In physics, energy can be converted in form but never created or destroyed. In my opinion, energy is one with our spirit. Our spirit lives on in the form of energy after our physical presence is not longer present. We strive to leave an everlasting memory for future generations. At least this is what the great ones manage to do whether they realize it or not. These individuals find a way to express themselves in a manner that force people to study, appreciate and even mimic their talent. To be perfectly honest with you, I can’t remember a time when Redd Foxx has not been part of my life. As a 42 year old, I continue to watched Redd Foxx on TV with the same enthusiasm I had as a kid watching him with my Grandparents. I would later learn to appreciate his Records as an adult. There has never been a moment where Redd Foxx didn’t have some type of influence on the way I viewed life, entertainment, struggle, resilience and persistence. To truly understand the complexity of Redd Foxx, we have to take a short journey through the window in which he viewed the universe.

Redd Foxx was born poor, black and in 1922. When you think about those odds in regard to American History, it makes for an even more fascinating life that he lived. I’ve always been intrigued with Redd Foxx and several years ago I started to research his life on a deeper level. One of the first things I learned was Redd Foxx actual name given at birth was John Elroy Sanford. Yes, Red Foxx last name was actually Sanford. As a fanatic of the 70’s Sitcom Sanford and Son, this was like music to my ears. Even more interesting was his father’s name was Fred Sanford Sr. His brother’s name was Fred G. Sanford, which is the name Redd Foxx decided to use for his character on Sanford and Son. Sanford starting calling himself Redd Foxx after being influenced by Major League Baseball Player, Jimmy Foxx. The nickname “RED” was given by others because of his skin complexion. I obviously didn’t know this information growing up but I can appreciate the show even more now and it was already my favorite sitcom of all time. As we continue with the life of John Elroy Sanford aka Redd Foxx, we see the adventurer at an early age. By the time Foxx was 13 years old; he left St. Louis and moved to Chicago. Prior to leaving for Chicago, Foxx was raised by his Grandmother. If you think about the show Sanford and Son, he always talked about leaving California and going back to St. Louis. At any rate, Foxx joined a band and played a washboard to make money. Fox would find refuge with new friends, band members and on the streets, trying to find his way. By the time Foxx was 16 years old, he decided to catch a train to New York to further pursue dreams and survive.