Demond Wilson: When Redd Foxx and I Began ‘Sanford and Son,’ We Didn’t Even Have Dressing Rooms

Demond Wilson may have played a junkman on Sanford and Son, but did the Peacock network have to treat him like one?

No, says the actor, who in a new book dishes about the injustices he says he and co-star Redd Foxx endured during their classic ’70s sitcom’s five year-run.

CAPTION: "Prior to Redd and I, there was only one black show," Demond (above) tells us. "That was 'The Amos 'N Andy' show."

"Prior to Redd and I, there was only one black show on TV," Demond (above) tells us. "That was 'The Amos 'N Andy' show."

Interviewed on Your Mental Health, Demond previews Second Banana: The Bittersweet Memories of Sanford and Son, which just shipped from the printer on Friday.

“I have been silent for over 30 years. I have not spoken out against the atrocities that were perpetrated against us.

“Now, this book is not a tell-all book. And it’s not a catharsis for my angst. Nor is it a get-even book.

“It’s a documentation of what Redd and I went through from day one until the day that— contrary to popular belief, Sanford and Son was never canceled; you don’t cancel a show in the top 10—Redd decided to leave,” Demond, who became an ordained minister in 1984, tells host Jacqueline Foreman.

“We were breaking ground, we were making history, [but] when we first came to NBC, we didn’t even have dressing rooms, except on a shoot day.

“We were dressing in the men’s room…They tried to deal with us like we were third-class field hands.”

Later in the show, Demond recalls a bittersweet anecdote about his top banana.

With his TV dad, Redd.

With his TV dad, Redd.

“Redd was from St. Louis, and spent a lot of time in Harlem. Redd said to me one day, ‘You know, Demond, I used to sleep on the roof.’ And I said, ‘What did you do when it rained?’ He said, ‘I didn’t go home.’”

He also talks his daughter’s patriotic career choice.

“Nicole…is stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She’s an officer down there in the prison camp,” he says.

“I was in Vietnam, so I did not want her to go that way. But she chose to become an officer in the Navy.

“She’s been in there for like seven years. She absolutely loves it. She’s a ‘lifer,’ as they used to call’em.”

To hear Demond’s full interview, click here.

To read more about Second Banana, click here.

To read about Demond’s upcoming flick, Faith Ties, click here.

12 thoughts on “Demond Wilson: When Redd Foxx and I Began ‘Sanford and Son,’ We Didn’t Even Have Dressing Rooms

  1. George V Johnson Jr

    Damon, enjoyed your blog and story. I sang with James Moody and was mentored by Eddie Jeffeson. Both told stories about Redd Fox on the road during the 50′s. I look forward to reading your book. I have a radio show on blog talk as well. blogtalkradio/george-v-johnson-jr Let’s stay connected. Stop by and check out my website. Take care and God Bless, George V Johnson Jr.

    Reply
  2. Proactive People of Purpose

    I was just saying to my husband this morning that I appreciated the comedy on Sanford & Son because your character never disrespected Redd Foxx’s character. No matter how crazy Fred G. Sanford acted, Lamont honored his father while also being the voice of reason. You don’t see that on TV today.

    I thought about to show, because periodically, I think about Lena Horne and I can’t think about her without thinking about how Fred loved her so. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  3. JAYREBER

    I WATCHED SANFORD AND SON WHEN, I WAS LITTLE AND LAUGHED THEN AND STILL DO TODAY. THEY SHOW RERUNS OF IT TODAY ON T.V.LAND NOW, I WOULD LIKE TO MEET DEMOND WILSON IN PERSON. I LIVE IN MOBILE, ALABAMA AND MY NAME IS JAY REBER AND , I AM A CHRISTAIN AND HAVE BEEN FOR ALMOST 25 YEARS. NOW IF THERE IS ANY WAY YOU CAN PLEASE HAVE BROTHER DEMOND WILSON CALL ME AT 251-662-7826. GOD BLESS YOU.

    Reply
  4. Joy

    The laughter and enjoyment that the series Sanford and Son brought to the many, many, many viewers the five years it was on will long be remembered and treasured. Both Redd Fox and Demond Wilson played well their parts and were outstanding actors of rare calibur, in that entertained as well as brought hope, dignity, and class to others at a difficult time. Laughter often indeed is the best medicine in life, and to get large doses of it often through the crafts of these two men, was just what the proverbial doctor ordered. Redd…rest in peace, you delightful man of humor. Demond….Godspeed ahead in your every endeavor. Heartfelt prayers for your daughter in military life. May syndication be ongoing, and then ongoing some more!! Kudos to all members of the cast. Lovingly, Joy W.

    Reply
  5. Byron Higginbotham

    Man, We love you and are very sorry for your suffering. Please think of the fans and your sanity and come to a resolution of this matter. The show was very good and funny. to tell the truth, “Aunt Ester” was the best actor of all. No, I don’t want to belittle any of you.
    The show speaks for itself. Please come to the public again without a grudge.
    We loved the show and are sorry for any injustices.

    Reply
  6. debbie

    Demond, your show was always one of my favorites growing up loved all the characters. You and Redd Foxx always had that special chemistry together. Thank you for the entertainment back in the day. I still watch the reruns and still laught at the good clean humor that you and red brought to my home. Always one of the top shows when I was growing up, beats sitcomb this day and age.

    Reply
  7. tony

    i was just watching on tvland and the memories that flood through me are special. those nights watching sanford and son were special times. Redd was a extremely talented man. i will always crerish that time. i laughed then and i laugh now. God bless you. aunt Ester was truly the Boom. You people out there should check out her albums if you can still find one, she was a real stand up comic.

    Reply
  8. Jeff Christopher

    Sandford and Son was a great show, and it always brought a smile to my parent’s face. I also enjoy watching the re-runs. God bless you Demond, and continue your good work. Perhaps, one day people of all color will blend in equally, and like a rainbow, all colors will blend in. I was good friends with Professor Tanaka. He was a professional wrestler. When he would sign an autograph he would write, “Never judge a face when the heart can not be seen”

    God Bless,
    Jeff Christopher

    Reply
  9. Cookie Harvell

    I just wanted to say that I never miss an episode on tvland it is part of my evening ritual. Demond although Redd would get on your last nerve you never disrespected your POP . If only we could children to respect there parents that way today.Just keep doing your thing my brother and I thank you and Redd for all the laughs then and now.

    Reply
  10. yemisi ogudipe

    Back then in the 70s when Sanford and Son was on, i was too little to know what was happening, as my dad was alwalys looking forward to when it will be aired,Two years ago a friend gave me the complete season and since then have not stop watching Sanford and son, All the charaters where wonderful, especially Red Fox, Demond acted very well as children really do obey and respect thier parents then, what do we have now, reading that the crew we treated badly then is paining, pray DEMOND to forgive and forget, and the good LORD grant him success in all his endeavors. Amen

    Reply
  11. Jackie T.

    I was a kid when Sanford & Son was on. I watched it then and I watch it now on TV Land. It always has been one of my favorite shows. I haven’t read the book about behind the scenes of the show but I would like to. It was one of the few shows that was funny and didn’t have to have sex and violence in it. I’m sorry for the injustices that the crew went through.

    Reply
  12. Stephanie in Atlanta

    Wow, the memories! This show is classic. My sister and I sometimes think we have OD’ed on the show but NOT. We just love, love, love the show. I am sorry that Demond and Redd had to go through all the ridicious stuff. But I know James Amos and Esther Rolle (GOOD TIMES) did just as well. They only wanted to case Good Times with a single black mother raising her kids in the ghetto and Esther Rolle fought to have a black dad. Man oh, Man oh did John Amos step way up to the place. A great big THANKS for these guys hanging in there and giving us classic shows that I watch EVERYDAY. I HAVE to have my fix of Sanford and Son and Good Times. It is my destresstor from a long day. Bigotry is in all races, but thanks God some do not give in to its ignorant. We are all ONE race, that is the HUMAN race.

    Reply

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