Eddie Foy

Definition

Theater

  • (Edwin Fitzgerald Foy; 1856 - 1928) Popular US vaudevillestar and entertainer noted for his offbeat humour, strange mannerisms,lisp, and clown make-up. Born in New York, he danced as a child inthe city streets to help support his family. Around 1878 he travelledWest with a minstrel troupe, entertaining in boom towns andmining camps. From 1888 to 1894 he appeared in Chicago in such extravagantvariety shows as Bluebeard Jr (1890) and Little RobinsonCrusoe (1893). Foy was playing in Chicago's Iroquois Theatre in1903 when it caught fire (see fires).

    From 1904 to 1913 Foy starred on Broadway in several musicals,including Up and Down Broadway (1910). He took vaudeville bystorm in 1913 when he appeared with his seven children billed as 'EddieFoy and the Seven Little Foys'. He retired in 1923 but returned tothe family act in 1927; he died a year later in Kansas City whileon a farewell tour.

    Foy's son, the comedian Eddie Foy Jr, impersonatedhis father in the 1943 film Yankee Doodle Dandy; this toldthe story of George M. Cohan, his father's main competitor.Bob Hope subsequently played Foy in a film about his life.

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