Demond Wilson almost declined the offer to play Lamont Sanford
Take a moment to think about some of the dynamic television duos in the Seventies. We bet Demond Wilson and Redd Foxx are somewhere on your list. The two highlighted the struggles of a father and son, Fred and Lamont Sanford, who had to scramble to make ends meet when the items in their junkyard/home weren't enough.
Now, imagine a different actor playing Lamont Sanford. Can't vision it, right? Well, that almost happened when Wilson found himself in deep thought about whether to accept the offer.
"I thought it was a step down. I wanted to be a movie actor," he told The Chicago Tribune in 1976. "But I thought it would be a good way to see what was happening in television."
Wilson had no idea how successful Sanford and Son would be, and if you had brought up the show's premise to him years ago, he would've laughed. "Six years ago, if someone had an idea about a Black show with Redd Foxx (forget it) and Demond Wilson about junk dealers (are you kidding? — it'll never work), he'd be promptly ushered out," the actor added.
The opportunity was amazing and exceeded expectations, but Wilson feared being typecast.
"I'm not Lamont — there's not much to this character, and I don't want to be locked into it. It's ironic. When I first came to town, I didn't think it would work out with Redd because I was a dramatic actor. Now they say I can't do drama — I'm a comedy actor."
Perhaps that's why Wilson's character was so uptight and stern. It was a great balance with Redd Foxx's silly and hilarious role. Lamont always caught on to Fred's antics, ultimately causing the father and son duo to bicker — something viewers loved.
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