Fred S. Fox, a comedy writer for some of Hollywood’s greatest legends including Bob Hope, George Burns, Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason and Jerry Lewis, died Oct. 23 of pneumonia in Encino.He was 90.
St. Louis native graduated from UC Berkeley and pursued a 50-year career during the “golden age” of radio and television. It began in 1939 as a writer-producer at KYA and KSFO, both CBS radio affiliates in San Francisco. His own “Freddie the Fox” show on KSFO became a No. 1 hit, but was canceled when too many mothers complained their children were imitating his stutter.
At the onset of WW, Fox worked for the Office of War Information as a writer-producer for a year and a half, then moved to Hollywood in 1943 on the rumor that comedians were looking for fresh, new writers. He began working immediately for Burns and Allen, Rosemary Clooney, Jack Carson, Bill Goodwin, Spike Jones, Doris Day and Bing Crosby.
He joined Hope’s staff in 1944, writing “The Bob Hope Pepsident Show” for NBC radio. He also worked on the “Road” movies with Hope and Crosby, and toured with Hope for the WW II War Bond effort. Thus began a relationship with Hope that spanned 40 years.
He later co-wrote many of the Hope specials featuring celebrity guest stars Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jack Benny, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Phyllis Diller, Perry Como, Sammy Davis Jr. and more.
Fox’s early writing television credits include “The Real McCoys,” “spectaculars” for Phil Harris and Betty Hutton, “The Garry Moore Show,” “The Red Skelton Hour” and many more.
He received a Writers Guild Award for the “George Burn’s Comedy Hour” and co-wrote “Oh Good, Book II.” At one point, he was involved in three primetime shows on air back to back on the same evening: a Bob Hope special, George Burns special and a “Love Boat” episode.
Fox is survived twins Jan Fox, a marketing specialist with Fox&Ward, and Fred Jr., a TV writer-producer; a granddaughter; a brother; and writing partner Seaman Jacobs.
A memorial celebrating his life will be held 11 a.m. Sundayat the Writers Guild Theater, 135 So. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills.