Rodney Dangerfield (November 22, 1921 � October 5, 2004), born Jacob Cohen, was an American comedian, and actor, known for the catchphrases "I don't
get no respect" or "I get no respect, I tell ya" and his monologues on that theme. He is also famous for his 1980s film roles, notably in Easy Money,
Caddyshack and Back To School.
Early life and careerDangerfield was born on Long Island in the town of Deer Park, the son of Jewish parents. His father was the vaudevillian
performer Phil Roy (Philip Cohen). His ancestors came to the United States from Hungary. He would later say that his father "was never home�he was out
looking to make other kids," and that his mother "brought him up all wrong". When Rodney was a kid, his parents moved a lot, but he always found
As a teenager, he got his start writing jokes for standup comics; he became one himself at 19 under the name Jack Roy. He struggled financially for
nine years, at one point performing as a singing waiter (he was fired), and also working as a performing acrobatic diver before giving up show
business to take a job selling aluminum siding to support his wife and family. He later said that he was so little known then that "at the time I
quit, I was the only one who knew I quit!"
In the early 1960s he started down what would be a long road toward rehabilitating his career, still working as a salesman by day. He came to realize
that what he lacked was an "image"�a well-defined on-stage persona that audiences could relate to and that would distinguish him from similar
He took the name Rodney Dangerfield, which had been used as the comical name of a faux cowboy star by Jack Benny on his radio program at least as
early as the December 21, 1941, broadcast and later as a pseudonym by Ricky Nelson on the TV program The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. However,
Jack Roy remained his legal name, as he mentioned from time to time. During a question-and-answer session with the audience on the album No Respect,
Rodney joked that his real name was Percival Sweetwater.
Fate intervened one Sunday night when The Ed Sullivan Show needed a last-minute replacement for another act. Dangerfield became the surprise hit of
Dangerfield began headlining shows in Las Vegas and made frequent encore appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. He became a regular on The Dean Martin
Show and appeared on The Tonight Show a total of 35 times. In 1969 Rodney Dangerfield teamed up with longtime friend Anthony Bevacqua to build
Dangerfield's. Rodney now had a venue in which to perform on a regular basis, without having to constantly travel. The club became a huge success.
Dangerfield's has been in continuous operation for over 40 years, and is today the top comedy club in the country. Dangerfield's was the venue for
several HBO shows which helped popularize many standup comics, including Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr, Robert Townsend, Jeff
Foxworthy, Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, Rita Rudner, Andrew Dice Clay, Louie Anderson, and Bob Saget.
His comedy album, No Respect, won a Grammy Award. One of his TV specials featured a musical number, "Rappin' Rodney", which soon became one of the
first MTV music videos.
Career peakDangerfield's career peaked during the early 1980s, when he began acting in comedy movies. His appearance in Caddyshack led to starring
roles in Easy Money and Back To School.
Throughout the 1980s, Dangerfield appeared in a series of commercials for Miller Lite beer, including one where various celebrities who had appeared
in the ads were holding a bowling match. After he was told "All we need is one pin, Rodney", Dangerfield's ball was shown going down the alley and
bouncing off the pins.
In a change of pace from the comedy persona that made him famous, he played an abusive father in Natural Born Killers in a scene for which he had
written his own lines.
Dangerfield was rejected for membership in the Motion Picture Academy in 1995 by the head of the Academy's Actors Section, Roddy McDowall. After fan
protests the Academy reconsidered, but Dangerfield then refused to accept membership.
Dangerfield appeared in an episode of The Simpsons titled "Burns, Baby Burns" wherein he played a character who is essentially a parody of his own
persona, Mr. Burns' son Larry Burns. He also appeared as himself in an episode of Home Improvement.
Dangerfield also appeared in the 2000 Adam Sandler film Little Nicky, playing Lucifer, the father of Satan (Harvey Keitel) and grandfather of Nicky
He was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, which put one of his trademark white shirts and red ties on display. When asked about the honor, he
joked that the museum was using his shirt to clean Charles Lindbergh's plane.
Dangerfield played an important role in comedian Jim Carrey's rise to stardom. In the 1980s, after watching him at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, he
signed Carrey to open his tour performances.
Personal lifeHe was married to Joyce Indig, with whom he had a son, Brian, and a daughter, Melanie. He asked international platform speaker Dr. Cody
Sweet to marry him in 1970, but she turned him down, respectfully. From 1993 to his death, he was married to Joan Child, who was instrumental in
setting up his Internet site. He and comic Sam Kinison were also very good friends.
The confusion of Dangerfield's stage persona with his real-life personality was a conception that he long resented. While Child described him as
"classy, gentlemanly, sensitive and intelligent," people who met the comedian nonetheless treated him as the belligerent loser whose character he
adopted in performance. In 2004 Dangerfield's autobiography, It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs (ISBN 0-06-
621107-7) was published. The book's original title was My Love Affair With Marijuana, a reference to his smoking material of choice for 60
Later years and death
Dangerfield's headstone at Westwood Village Memorial Park CemeteryOn 8 April 2003, Dangerfield underwent brain surgery to improve blood flow in
preparation for heart valve-replacement surgery on 24 August 2004. Upon entering the hospital, he uttered another characteristic one-liner when asked
how long he would be hospitalized: "If all goes well, about a week. If not, about an hour and a half."
In October 2003, the Orlando Sentinel, and numerous other media outlets as well, reported that Rodney met with the Raelian cult to discuss cloning
himself. Joan, rumored to be in that cult, and Rodney also appeared on television to discuss the meeting. Apparently no one asked whether one Rodney
was already too many.
In September 2004, it was revealed that Dangerfield had been in a coma for several weeks. Afterward, he began breathing on his own and showing signs
of awareness when visited by friends. However, on 5 October 2004, he died at the UCLA Medical Center, from complications of the surgery he had
undergone in August. He was a month and a half short of his 83rd birthday. Dangerfield was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in
Los Angeles. In keeping with his "no respect" persona, his headstone reads simply, "Rodney Dangerfield... There goes the neighborhood.�
Joan held an event in which the word "respect" had been emblazoned in the sky, while each guest was given a live Monarch butterfly for a Native
American butterfly-release ceremony led by Farrah Fawcett.
HomagesThe George Lopez sitcom's episode "Leave it to Lopez" was dedicated in the memory of Rodney Dangerfield.
UCLA�s Division of Neurosurgery named a suite of operating rooms after him and gave him the �Rodney Respect Award�, which his wife presented to Jay
Leno on October 20, 2005. It was presented on behalf of the David Geffen School of Medicine/Division of Neurosurgery at UCLA at their 2005 Visionary
Saturday Night Live ran a short sketch of Dangerfield (played by Darrell Hammond) at the gates of heaven. Saint Peter mentions that he heard
Dangerfield got no respect in life, which prompts Dangerfield to spew an entire string of his famous one-liners. After he's done, he asks why Saint
Peter was so interested. Saint Peter replies, �I just wanted to hear those jokes one more time� and waves him into heaven.
On September 10, 2006, Comedy Central aired a special titled Legends: Rodney Dangerfield which commemorated his life and legacy. Featured comedians
included Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Jay Leno, Ray Romano, Roseanne Barr, Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Saget, Jerry Stiller, Kevin Kline and Jeff
The ending credits of The George Lopez Show feature an homage to Rodney Dangerfield.
In 2007, it was reported that a Rodney Dangerfield tattoo is among the most popular celebrity tattoos in the United States.
In the 2009 Family Guy episode "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side", a cartoon version of Rodney Dangerfield makes an appearance.
On Triple M's now defunct radio program 'Get This', co-anchor Ed Kavalee used to champion the digital addition of Rodney Dangerfield to movies in an
attempt to make them more interesting. Callers would often make their own suggestions regarding this.
In The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 29 May 2009, Leno credited Dangerfield with the style of joke Leno had been using for the past few years. The
format of the joke is that the comedian tells a sidekick how bad something is�in this case, guitar player Kevin Eubanks�and the sidekick sets up the
joke by asking just how bad that something is.
Impressed by Dangerfield's role in Caddyshack, Europet's design manager Allen Shuemaker brought forth the idea of creating a line of animal chew toys
modeled after the comedian. The line had a short run in 1989 and, in recent years, have become highly desirable by a small group of
John Elroy Sanford (December 9, 1922 � October 11, 1991), better known by his stage name Redd Foxx, was an American comedian and actor, best known for his starring role on the sitcom Sanford and Son.
Early life and careerFoxx was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Chicago on the South Side. His mother was half Seminole. His father, an electrician, left his family when Foxx was four years old. Foxx was raised by his mother, his minister, and his grandmother. He briefly attended DuSable High School with future Chicago mayor Harold Washington.
In the 1940s, he was an associate of Malcolm Little, later known as Malcolm X. In Malcolm's autobiography, Foxx is referred to as "Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth." Foxx earned the nickname due to his reddish hair and complexion. His stage surname was taken from baseball star Jimmie Foxx.
Nightclub actFoxx gained notoriety with his nightclub act (considered by the standards of the time to be raunchy). His big break came after singer Dinah Washington insisted that Foxx come to Los Angeles, where Dootsie Williams of Dooto records caught his act at the Brass Rail nightclub. He was signed to a long term contract and released a series of comedy albums that quickly became cult favorites.
He was also one of the first black comics to play to white audiences on the Las Vegas Strip. Foxx used his starring role on Sanford and Son to help get jobs for his friends such as LaWanda Page, Slappy White, Gregory Sierra, Don Bexley, Skillet and LeRoy and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita.
Sanford and SonMain article: Sanford and Son
Foxx achieved his most widespread fame starring in the television sitcom comedy Sanford and Son, which premiered on the NBC television network on January 14, 1972, and was broadcast for six seasons, the final episode airing on March 25, 1977. Foxx's co-star was actor Demond Wilson.
Post-Sanford and Son careerIn 1977, Foxx left Sanford and Son, after six highly successful seasons (and the show was canceled solely due to his departure) to star in a short-lived variety show, but by 1980 he was back playing Fred Sanford in a brief revival/spin-off, Sanford.
Foxx appeared to be making a comeback with the 1991 series The Royal Family, in which he co-starred with his long-time friend Della Reese.
Personal lifeRedd Foxx was married four times. His first marriage was to Evelyn Killebrew in 1948, but was short-lived and ended in divorce in 1951.
His second marriage was to Betty Jean Harris, a showgirl and dancer, who was a colleague of LaWanda Page, who would later be known as Foxx's TV rival Aunt Esther on Sanford & Son. The couple wed on July 22, 1956. Foxx adopted Harris' daughter Debreca Foxx, who was about nine years old at the time. The marriage ended in divorce in 1975.
Foxx then married Korean-American Yun Chi Chung in 1976, but the marriage was again brief, ending in 1981.
At the time of his death in 1991, Foxx was married to Ka Ho Cho, who used the name Ka Ho Foxx.
Financial and tax problemsAccording to People Magazine, "Foxx reportedly once earned $4 million in a single year, but depleted his fortune with a lavish life-style, exacerbated by what he called 'very bad management.'" Contributing to his problems was an alleged cocaine habit and a 1981 divorce settlement of $300,000 paid to his third wife. In 1983 he filed bankruptcy, which proceeding continued at least through 1989.
The IRS filed tax liens against Redd Foxx's property for income taxes he owed for the years 1983 through 1986 totalling $755,166.21. On November 28, 1989, the IRS seized his home in Las Vegas and seven vehicles (including a 1927 Model T, a 1975 Panther J72, a 1983 Zimmer, and a Vespa motor scooter) to pay the taxes which by then had grown to $996,630, including penalties and interest. Agents also seized "$12,769 in cash and a dozen guns, including a semiautomatic pistol," among some 300 items in total, reportedly leaving only Foxx's bed. Foxx stated that the IRS "took my necklace and the ID bracelet off my wrist and the money out of my pocket . . . I was treated like I wasn't human."
It has been reported that, at the time of his death in 1991, Foxx owed more than $3.6 million in taxes.
On October 11, 1991, during a break from rehearsals for The Royal Family, he suffered a fatal heart attack on the set. Reportedly, co-star Della Reese and the rest of the cast and crew thought he was doing his classic "I'm coming, Elizabeth!" fake heart attack routine he made famous on Sanford and Son, even going as far as collapsing to the floor, although that was not part of the usual act. However, this heart attack was real, and Foxx did not regain consciousness.
Foxx was posthumously given a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame on May 17, 1992.
A few years after Foxx's death, several buyers of his home claimed his property was 'haunted' by him. Some people have even gone as far as claiming Foxx faked his death because he still owed the IRS money. Martin Lawrence poked fun at these claims on the pilot of his sitcom Martin. He said, "The man faked it. If you owed 16 billion dollars in taxes, what would you do?"
Foxx is buried in Las Vegas, at Palm Valley View Memorial Park. In 1993, his mother Mary Carson (1903-1993), who outlived Foxx, died nearly 17 months to the day after Foxx's death, and was buried just to the right of her famed son.
Photograph Hand Color Tinted by artist Margaret A. Rogers.