Redd Foxx was one of the kings of stand-up comedy in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. We remember Foxx’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Redd Foxx was one of the kings of stand-up comedy in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, recording more than 50 comedy albums and becoming one of the first black comedians to play to white audiences on the Las Vegas Strip. He continued his groundbreaking career with a starring role on TV’s “Sanford and Son,” a sitcom that opened doors for a stronger black presence on TV. His decades of comedy stardom inspired popular performers including Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, and Jamie Foxx, who chose his stage name in tribute to the influential star. We remember Foxx’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1944: Neil Innes, Monty Python member who co-created the Rutles, is born in Danbury, England.
1941: Dan Hicks, U.S. singer-songwriter who was one of the founders of San Francisco’s psychedelic-folk era, is born in Little Rock, Arkansas.
1938: Deacon Jones, U.S. NFL Hall of Fame defensive end known for his 173 career quarterback sacks, who later became an actor and appeared on “The Brady Bunch” and “Bewitched,” is born in Eatonville, Florida.
Because sacks didn’t become an official statistic until 1982, Jones’ total is uncertain. His impact as a premier pass rusher and team leader is not, according to his 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. Jones led the Rams’ Fearsome Foursome unit from 1961-71. He went on to play for San Diego for two seasons before finishing his career with the Washington Redskins in 1974. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and made the league’s 75th anniversary all-time squad. Read more
1937: Darwin Joston, U.S. actor well-known for starring in the cult classic “Assault on Precinct 13,” is born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
1935: David Houston, U.S. country music singer who had a No. 1 country hit in 1966 with the song “Almost Persuaded,” is born in Bossier City, Louisiana.
1934: Junior Wells, U.S. Chicago blues harmonica player who recorded with the Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, and Van Morrison among other notable musicians, is born in Memphis, Tennessee.
1932: Morton Downey Jr., U.S. television and radio broadcaster who was one of the pioneers of trash TV with his talk show, is born in Los Angeles, California.
In 1958, he signed an exclusive recording contract with the Blue Note label and formed a band with a fellow Detroit native, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, making their label debut with the 1959 album “Off to the Races.” The band became one of the leading exponents of the hard-bop style, which evolved from bebop and blended in elements of rhythm and blues, soul, and gospel. A 1961 recording, “Free Form,” brought attention to a promising young pianist, Herbie Hancock, according to Byrd’s 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
1930: Buck Henry, actor, director, and screenwriter who co-created “Get Smart” with Mel Brooks, is born in New York, New York.
1929: John Cassavetes, U.S. actor, director, and screenwriter who was in the movies “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Dirty Dozen,” is born in New York, New York.
Compelling, quirkily complex characters. Use of nonprofessional actors. Emphasis on improvisation. Shooting on location. Handheld cameras, shoestring budgets, non-formulaic stories. If this looks like a checklist for getting your film into Sundance, consider that Cassavetes was making films with these characteristics way back in 1957. Little wonder that he is considered the Godfather of American Independent Cinema. Read more
1928: Dick Van Patten, U.S. actor and animal welfare advocate known best for his role as Tom Bradford on television’s “Eight Is Enough,” is born in Queens, New York.
Starting out as a child actor, Van Patten later starred on “Young Dr. Malone” and “I Remember Mama.” He thrived playing the patriarch of the Bradford family on the popular series “Eight Is Enough.” A dog lover, he created Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989. Read more
1926: Roger McGee, U.S. actor who appeared in the “Our Gang” serials and “Forbidden Planet,” is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
1922: Redd Foxx, U.S. comedian and actor known best for his starring role on the sitcom “Sanford and Son,” is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
As the star of “Sanford and Son,” Foxx became the face of one of the most racially groundbreaking shows in the history of television. The trailblazing series – one of the first successful sitcoms with a primarily black cast – set the stage for many popular shows to come, from “Good Times” to “The Cosby Show” to “Bernie Mac” and beyond. Read more
1914: Frances Reid, U.S. actress known best for playing the role of Alice Horton on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” from 1965 until 2007, is born in Wichita Falls, Texas.
1912: Tip O’Neill, U.S. politician who was the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977-87, is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1911: Broderick Crawford, U.S. actor known for his starring role on the TV series “Highway Patrol,” is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1911: Lee J. Cobb, U.S. actor who was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in “On the Waterfront,” is born in the Bronx, New York.
1909: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., U.S. actor who was the son of actor Douglas Fairbanks and who appeared in movies such as “Morning Glory” with Katharine Hepburn, is born in New York, New York.
1905: Dalton Trumbo, U.S. screenwriter who was one of the Hollywood Ten, who were blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and who wrote the screenplays for “Exodus” and “Spartacus” and co-wrote “Roman Holiday,” is born in Montrose, Colorado.
1904: Robert Livingston, U.S. actor who appeared in 135 films including “The Lone Ranger Rides Again,” is born in Quincy, Illinois.
1901: Carol Dempster, U.S. film actress during the silent era who starred in D.W. Griffith films, is born in Duluth, Minnesota.
1897: Hermione Gingold, English actress who played characters in the movies “Gigi” and “The Music Man,” is born in London, England.
1887: Tim Moore, U.S. actor known best for his role as George “Kingfish” Stevens in “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” is born in Rock Island, Illinois.
1883: Joseph Pilates, German fitness trainer who invented the Pilates method of fitness, is born in Monchengladbach, Germany.