‘Sanford and Son’: What Was Redd Foxx’s Net Worth When He Died?

Comedy legend Redd Foxx made a name for himself in the 1950s and 1960s, at a time when people were still extremely mild-mannered and conservative. He was known for his brash humor that often used foul language. Born in St. Louis, Foxx began his career in the 1940s and 1950s performing in Black nightclubs in New York City.

He began to gain popularity in the 1960s because recordings of his performances spread across the country like wildfire. He earned his role in the long-running NBC sitcom, Sanford and Son after a memorable performance in the Ossie Davis 1970 directed movie Cotton Comes to Harlem.

Sandford and Son was a massive success, and Foxx went on to star in Harlem Nights opposite Eddie Murphy, but what was his net worth when he died?

Redd Foxx clapping at a podium
Redd Foxx | ABC via Getty Images

What was Redd Foxx’s real name?

Born December 9, 1922, in St. Louis, Foxx was mostly raised in Chicago by his mother, Mary Hughes, his grandmother, and his minister. Foxx’s father, Fred Sanford, left the family when he was just 4-years-old.

Foxx’s character on Sanford and Son was named after his older brother who shared his father’s name, but the comedian’s given name was John Elroy Sanford.

Foxx had an interesting childhood, going to school with the first Black mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington, and meeting Malcolm X, then known as Malcolm Little. In his autobiography, the late Civil Rights Leader mentioned the comedian saying, “Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth.” 

Foxx began his career in 1939 when he was just 17 on Major Bowes Amateur Hour radio.

RELATED: ‘Harlem Nights’: How Much Wealth Did the Stars of the Gangster Flick Make in Real Life?

How did Redd Foxx die?

Foxx died in 1991 at age 68. At the time, he was shooting a new sitcom titled, The Royal Family. During some downtime, Foxx was chatting with a reporter from Entertainment Tonight and was abruptly snatched up by a producer to rehearse with his co-star, Della Reese, though he had no lines in the scene.

Foxx and the producer had a few words, but he eventually carried on with the rehearsal before collapsing on set and dying of a heart attack. At first, no one thought anything was wrong since Foxx’s character on Sandford and Son was known for faking heart attacks. However, the comedian was later pronounced dead.

“It was an end so ironic that for a brief moment castmates figured Foxx–whose 1970s TV character often faked coronaries–was kidding when he grabbed a chair and fell to the floor,” Entertainment Weekly reported.

What was Redd Foxx’s net worth when he died?

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Foxx was $3.5 million in debt due to his lavish lifestyle, a costly divorce in the 1970s, and money owed to the IRS. “Foxx reportedly once earned $4 million in a single year but depleted his fortune with a lavish lifestyle, exacerbated by what he called ‘very bad management,'” People Magazine reported.

Still, despite the things that were lost during his life, Foxx’s genius and massive career lives on 30 years after his death.