Redd was most famous for playing Fred G. Sanford on the show «Sanford and Son». He even had a show named after him, «The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour».
The comedian was married four times and never had children. Towards the end of his life, he had no one else except fellow comedian and actor Eddie Murphy.
Redd was a fan favorite, but he didn’t live long and needed a friend near the end of his life. He had an interesting life, but didn’t get to experience a long one.
Redd Foxx’s financial problems
In 1989, the actor owed the U.S. Government $755,166.21 in back taxes. After he failed to pay, they raided his three-bedroom home in Las Vegas and took everything they could to recover the money.
Redd earned between $15,000 and $20,000 per week performing at the Hacienda Hotel in Las Vegas during the seizure of the property.
But he believed that the U.S. Government wanted the $500,000 he had earned from the film «Harlem Nights.» He revealed that the Government was angry about the money he had earned from the film. He also claimed that the tax he had paid was ridiculous.
«No individual in the United States pays $20,000 a week in income taxes. This is like a Third World country, taking my entire salary,» he once said.
When the agency raided his home, they took his cars, furniture and everything they could fit in their vans. They tried to take his dog’s house, but it was too big to carry.
They also tried to take his four dogs, but failed to do so.
«They took the ID necklace and bracelet off my wrist and took my money out of my pocket,» she recounted on one occasion.
U.S. Government officials also broke into her late mother’s luggage trunks and dumped her personal belongings on the floor of her garage. The raid had not been the first time Redd had been in trouble with the U.S. Government.
He had once made $4 million in a year, but spent it on a lavish lifestyle. His financial distress worsened when he had to pay a $300,000 divorce settlement to his third wife.
He also had to pay a $25,000 lawsuit from an employee of the hotel where he worked who had claimed that the comedian had shouted obscenities at him. He later had to file for bankruptcy.
He was hurt that none of his friends in Hollywood helped him.
Redd was heartbroken when his friends in Hollywood failed to provide help.
«I don’t hear from anybody. That’s remarkable. I just can’t believe it. No one has called me,» he said.
«I’m just looking for a telegram that says, ‘Hey, man, look, I’m sorry. Keep your chin up.’ But I haven’t gotten anything. I’ve been in business for 50 years. I’ve helped a lot of people, I’ve started them,» he added.
Redd also said he had tried to reach out to fellow comedian and longtime friend Eddie Murphy, but received no response.
«Eddie is in a position to totally get me out of this. It wouldn’t do him any harm. I could sign with him for five years of work, doing something until I pay him back,» he added.
To his surprise, Redd received help from fans and neighbors. He explained on one occasion that one of his neighbors who lived three blocks away had come to his house with some supplies.
Even the school children had helped him: they had taken up $200 worth of money for Redd. This touched his heart.
«The kids had donated their lunch money. That’s amazing. I was embarrassed to take it, to tell you the truth,» the comedian recounted.
A lady at the club where he was performing, who had taken collections from patrons and fans watching his live show, managed to raise some money for Redd.
The Eddie Murphy and Redd Foxx Relationship
Redd appeared in the movie «Harlem Nights,» which Eddie co-wrote and co-produced with Richard Pryor. Eddie mentioned that while working on the film, Redd had bet him $1000 that he would be married within a year.
«We were close and I loved Redd Foxx. Yeah, I gave him an acknowledgement [at Dolemite] and all that,» Eddie recounted.
After learning that Redd had lost everything to the U.S. Government, he and his attorney, Mark Rissman, and accountant Louis Pittman, contacted the Government.
The three worked out a payment plan to help Redd with his debt through auctions that helped the comedian avoid having his home seized.
Eddie even created a sitcom, «The Royal Family,» and recruited Redd as one of the lead characters. This role came after five years of the comedian not being on television.
Murphy also had good things to say about his co-producer, Richard Pryor, after working together on «Harlem Nights.»
«He’s on top of the world and doing a great job. He sure knows how to handle people with sensitivity. He’ll come up to you and give you instructions in private, he never embarrasses anyone,» Eddie said.
The Comedian’s Tragic Death and Funeral
In 1991, Redd suffered a heart attack while rehearsing for the show «The Royal Family.» Comedy spokeswoman Rachel McCallister reported on the moments leading up to his death.
McCallister added, «They were rehearsing on the set and clowning around, and Redd was making people laugh when he collapsed. Everyone thought he was joking at first, and then they called the paramedics.»
Eddie reflected on Redd’s death:
«I had to personally pay for his funeral, buy his headstone and do all that.»
He added that the late comedian had not been the first Hollywood star he had had to bury.
«I’ve buried a lot of people over the years. For some strange reason, a lot of people in show business, when they die, they don’t have their stuff in order. I’ve buried a lot of famous people, if they knew,» he said.
Reflecting on his late friend’s fiscal problems, Eddie wondered if the U.S. Government would have recovered all the money he owed. He added that Redd had probably been very pleased to die before paying the government back.
Differences in the lives of Eddie Murphy and Red Foxx
Eddie Murphy is very different from his friend and has a large family that he loves to spend all his free time with. Murphy is a proud father and is now also a grandfather.
Eddie has ten children by five different women and loves spending time with each and every one of them. He had his first child, Eric Murphy, with his ex-girlfriend, Paulette McNeely.
His next five children, Bria, Myles, Shayne, Zola and Bella, he had with his ex-wife, Nicole Mitchell. The couple was married from 1993 to 2006.
His next child, Christian, he had with his ex-girlfriend, Tamara Hood. Former Spice Girl, Melanie Brown, better known as Mel B or Scary Spice, gave birth to Murphy’s son, Angel. The actor and his current partner, Paige Butcher, had sons Izzy and Max together.
In 2019, he had his first grandchild, five months after his youngest son was born. The actor said he wanted to be called «dad» instead of «grandpa.» «I love fatherhood,» he assured.
He also talked about how he felt about each of his children, and said none of them had an attitude problem or a bad outlook on life.
«My kids are very cool, normal people, and none of them are Hollywood idiot kids,» he said.
Murphy recounted that, of all the roles he has played during his long Hollywood career, being a father and grandfather is by far the role he has enjoyed the most.