Last of vaudeville's 'Seven Little Foys'
Irving L. Foy, the last of vaudeville’s famed “Seven Little Foys,” died in his sleep April 20 in Albuquerque, New Mex. He was 94.
The “Seven Little Foys” were headliners during vaudeville’s Golden Age, criss-crossing the country from 1912 to 1928 and playing in theatres from L.A.’s Orpheum to New York’s Palace.
Eddie Foy was already a vaudeville star when he was asked to do a benefit for the family church in New Rochelle, N.Y. He included his seven children in the act, and the local aud liked the act so much he decided to make them a permanent part of his act. “Eddie Foy and the Seven Little Foys,” bowed on August 19, 1912, and were an instant hit. In the early years, Irving, being the youngest, had a relatively minor role but vaudeville auds ate him up. Small for his age, he would pop out of a large carpetbag that his father would carry onstage. He would sing, mimic his father, and the act would end with little Irving trying to tug his father offstage.
In 1915, Eddie and the Foy children appeared in a Mack Sennett short, “A Favorite Fool,” but Eddie didn’t like working in the movies and took the act back to vaudeville. A 1928 Vitaphone short, recently restored by UCLA, is the only record of the Foy children’s song-and-dance act.
Eddie Foy Sr. died in 1928 but the four youngest children, Madeline, Mary, Charlie and Irving, continued the to perform together until the mid-1930’s.
The story of the performing Foys was told in 1955 pic “The Seven Little Foys,” with Bob Hope as Eddie Foy Sr.In the 1940’s Irving worked for the Interstate Theatre chain, managing movie theatres in Dallas and the Sunshine, Kimo and Lobo Theatres in Albuquerque. In 1952, he and his family moved to Taos, N.M., where he managed a drive-in theater and ran an ice cream parlor. He moved to Albuquerque in 1958.
He was married to Sylvia J. Leese Foy until her death in 1983. He is survived by four sons and four grandchildren. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 25, 2003 at Our Lady of Fatima Church, 4020 Lomas Blvd. NE,
Private burial will occur at a later date in the Foy family plot in New Rochelle, NY.
Contributions may be made to All Faiths Receiving Home; 1709 Moon St. NE; Albuquerque, NM 87108.