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Redd Foxx Tried to Contact Eddie Murphy When He Faced Homelessness - 2 Years Later He Died Poor

Olawale Ogunjimi
Nov 20, 2021
06:00 A.M.

Redd Foxx was an excellent TV guru who was in show business for decades and starred alongside notable actors like Eddie Murphy. Sadly, towards the end of his life, he became homeless and died poor.

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Redd Foxx was a tremendous actor and comedian who rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty in the industry. Even after his death, people remembered his wits and acting prowess that spanned for decades.

While he amassed fortune and fame from the onset, he died in poverty and served a younger colleague, partly to pay his debt and satisfy his passion.

WHEN THE PROBLEMS CAME KNOCKING

Foxx faced a financial crisis that toppled everything during his birth month one year, leaving the comedian with almost nothing to celebrate.

He was 67 when the IRS seized a large portion of his belongings that had been estimated as valuable possessions. The only thing the officials left behind was a bed to lay his head on, a couch, some intimate photos, and clothes.

Publicity photo of Redd Foxx for "The Redd Foxx Show" in 1977 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images, Public Domain

Publicity photo of Redd Foxx for "The Redd Foxx Show" in 1977 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images, Public Domain

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The entertainer still made a joke while recounting his ordeal. He acknowledged that the money he owed was a considerable debt, and he would have to be an heir to recover the funds that could help clear his name. Foxx also mentioned that:

"They took everything, all the stuff they thought was of value so that when the auction comes up they will get the chance to get their money."

While they released some belongings, the IRS was particular about keeping a picture of American Actress Lena Horne kissing the comedian and another of his co-star, Demond Wilson.

Publicity photo of Redd Foxx in 1966 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images, Public domain

Publicity photo of Redd Foxx in 1966 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images, Public domain

The officers also kept a signed photograph by Frank Sinatra, some of his home plants, and seized a watch off his wrist. The TV personality said his visitors came relatively early and warned him to open the door within two minutes, not minding his state.

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Although he had just gotten out of bed, Foxx honored their two-minute timer request and attended to the door. As they were allowed in, they ransacked his things.

The IRS intended to clear the house, and they were thorough in their search. They even went through his 86-year-old mother, Mary Carson's luggage trunk. He had no control over how they mishandled the property, but when it was time for them to cease his dogs, Foxx begged.

Redd Foxx as Fred G. Sanford in an episode of "Sanford and Son" aired on August 12, 1972 | Photo: Getty Images

Redd Foxx as Fred G. Sanford in an episode of "Sanford and Son" aired on August 12, 1972 | Photo: Getty Images

Although they allowed him to remain in the home with little to call his own, this privilege was due to expire once they sold the house. All these measures were to source for his tax evasion fee of $98 0000.

FOXX QUESTIONS THE TAX AUTHORITIES

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The entire episode piqued the actor's pride and emotions, especially since the loss came as a shock because he took steps to avoid it.

Six years before the possible homelessness, Foxx had filed for bankruptcy and wasted no time listing his Los Angeles properties which amounted to $3 million for sale.

Eddie Murphy speaks onstage during WSJ. Magazine 2019 Innovator Awards Sponsored By Harry Winston And Rémy Martin at MOMA | Photo: Getty Images

Eddie Murphy speaks onstage during WSJ. Magazine 2019 Innovator Awards Sponsored By Harry Winston And Rémy Martin at MOMA | Photo: Getty Images

At the time of the home invasion, the bankruptcy was not over, so the onscreen star questioned why the IRS could not wait to collect their taxes from the eventual sum. He said:

"Why didn't the IRS wait until the bankruptcy was over and find out how much was left for them? It's not like I was dead broke."

He tried to research answers and ended up asking his lawyer in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Foxx could not build a new case. The attorney slammed a $7,500 payment on him to restart the case, claiming that the new development was separate from the bankruptcy suit.

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The rejection from the lawyer put Foxx in a difficult position, so he decided to employ the help of another while he sought advice from the American Civil Liberties Union.

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BEFORE THE IRS SAGA

Before the invasion, Foxx received several notifications from the IRS, one of which involved them taking his monthly salaries for four months. He had gotten a job as a headliner with Eddie Murphy, at Las Vegas Hacienda Hotel, with pay that rounded to about $20,000.

The tax authorities believed that he had made excessive cash by featuring in "Harlem Nights," Murphy's hit show, so they charged $20,000 as weekly income tax. The entertainer described the ordeal as unjust.

 Eddie Murphy attends Critics' Choice Association's Celebration of Black Cinema at Landmark Annex | Photo: Getty Images

Eddie Murphy attends Critics' Choice Association's Celebration of Black Cinema at Landmark Annex | Photo: Getty Images

Still, the treatment did not cause him to quit the show; instead, he felt motivated and concerned about the other men he worked with. Foxx did not want to leave the show because it would upset the balance, ultimately costing the others their jobs.

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FOXX'S RESERVATIONS ABOUT HIS PREDICAMENT

Despite the horrors of being homeless and poor, Foxx remained positive. The only thing that weighed him down was the reaction from close pals whom he believed should have helped. According to the "Harlem Nights" star:

"I haven't heard from anyone. That's remarkable. I just can't believe it. No one at all has called...But I haven't received anything. I've been in the business for 50 years."

Eddie Murphy accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020. | Photo: Getty Images.

Eddie Murphy accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020. | Photo: Getty Images.

Foxx added that he reached out to Murphy. He loved working with the younger comedian, who he described as a beautiful person. The veteran star explained that his colleague was able to help without feeling the heat, as he earned way more and was in his prime.

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That was not all; while he asked for help, Foxx was ready to sign a contract with Murphy for five years until he paid the debt. However, there was no instant response until after the interview, where he highlighted his trust in the "Harlem Nights" creator.

Murphy's lawyers teamed up with people from Foxx's camp. After deliberation between them and the IRS, they cleared everything, and Foxx was able to star in CBS's sitcom "The Royal Family," produced by his savior, Eddie Murphy.

Eddie Murphy arrives on the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards on January 05, 2020.  | Photo: Getty Images

Eddie Murphy arrives on the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards on January 05, 2020. | Photo: Getty Images

REDD FOXX'S DEMISE

Two years after he was homeless, the comic icon passed away as a poor man. Once again, Murphy stepped in for his friend. He paid for the funeral and bought Foxx's tombstone. When asked why he said:

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"We were close, and I did love Redd Foxx."

Foxx was laid to rest at the Palm Memorial Park in Las Vegas, and many people attended his funeral. Most of his co-stars from "The Royal Family" found his untimely end shocking.

Eddie Murphy speaks onstage during the LA Tastemaker event for Comedians in Cars at The Paley Center for Media on July 17, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images.

Eddie Murphy speaks onstage during the LA Tastemaker event for Comedians in Cars at The Paley Center for Media on July 17, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images.

They chose to remember him for his rich legacy in the industry rather than how poor he ended up. At the memorial, Aalda, a colleague, joked about how satisfied Foxx must be, knowing he owed the IRS.

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