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Old 01-05-2003, 05:40 PM   #1
Impressions
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Default "Where Are They Now?" - Demond Wilson

I found this article that is an interview from Demond Wilson a.k.a "Lamont":

Demond Wilson's Memories of "Sanford and Son"

As Lamont, the son of cantankerous junkyard dealer Fred Sanford, Demond Wilson bore the brunt of Redd Foxx's sarcasm on Sanford and Son.

The actor, now a minister, doesn't have a lot to say about Foxx, but he knows the series was a great one, as he helps TV Land talk it up before the 1970s comedy returns to the air, jump starting with 48 hours of episodes today.

''I watch and say, 'I don't want to watch this,' but it still draws me. I know the plot, what was behind it, but it still draws me. Sanford and Son has that ability, and it's 30 years old,'' said Wilson, 56.

''It's a classic piece. We knew that when we were doing it, absolutely. You discover new audiences every time you come back, except for the diehard fans. You get new fans. I get kids 7-, 8-, 9-, 10-years-old coming up to me, 'You're Sanford's son.' ''

Producer Norman Lear, the mastermind behind All in the Family and Maude, recreated Sanford and Son from a British TV series, Steptoe and Son. He found the right chemistry for father and son in Foxx and Wilson.

''I did a spot on All in the Family and Redd had done the movie Cotton Comes to Harlem where he played a junk dealer named Uncle Bud. He played a rascal. They said, 'Hey, let's put these guys together,' '' said Wilson.

Besides the great comedy, what does Wilson see as the legacy of the series?

''It's family, stronger than anything else, stronger than intelligence, shrewdness. Family ties are the strongest thing on the planet: father-son, mother-daughter, brother-brother . . .''

And the show paved the way for modern African-American sitcoms.

''It was the forerunner. After Sanford, there was The Jeffersons, Good Times, and on and on,'' Wilson said. ''Redd and I were the catalysts, we opened the door. They don't give us that credit, but we opened that door, kicked it right in.''

As for trading barbs with Foxx (born John Sanford), a legendary blue-humor comic from the Chitlin Circuit, he says simply, ''It was fun. He was a funny guy, absolutely.''

Wilson, who was born in Valdosta, Ga., and grew up in New York City, didn't keep any souvenirs from the show. ''Naw. I am a prop, I am the memorabilia,'' said the actor who began his career at age 4 in Green Pastures on Broadway and later tap danced at the Apollo Theater.

He served with the 4th Infantry Division of the Army in Vietnam in 1967 and appeared in one film, The Organization, before tackling Sanford and Son. After two more TV series in the 1980s, Baby I'm Back and The New Odd Couple, Wilson became a minister in 1984.

''I have a prison ministry called Restoration House. It was formed for the rehabilitation of former inmates, first-time offenders of nonviolent crime, to teach them skills to have gainful employment,'' he said. The first Restoration House near Lynchburg, Va., can accommodate 150 men, and land has been purchased for a second facility in Valdosta, Ga.

Wilson and his wife of nearly 30 years have six children, ranging in age from 14 to 28, who they raised in Orange County, Calif., ''in a normal environment.''

In the meantime, Wilson has written a screenplay, The Legend of Nat Turner, about the life of an ex-slave in 1845, and hopes to begin filming in April. He appeared in Hammerlock, an independent film in 2000, and wrote a book, New Age Millennium: An Expose of Symbols, Slogans and Hidden Agendas, in 1998. ''It's a little history, a little philosophy and a little religion,'' he says.

It's coming, Elizabeth!

TV Land adds one of TV's funniest sitcoms, Sanford and Son, to its lineup with a 48-hour marathon beginning at 5 a.m. today.

Sanford and Son, which aired on NBC 1972-1977, ranked as one of the top three shows for two seasons and remained in the top 10 for its entire run.

Comedian Redd Foxx portrays Fred Sanford, a grumpy, 65-year-old African-American widower, who owns a junk dealership and lives in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood.

Lamont (Demond Wilson) is Fred's partner and son who desperately wants out of the family business to find new opportunities for himself. When Lamont does threaten to leave, Fred fakes a heart attack and proclaims to his late wife Elizabeth, ''Oh, this time its real, I'm a-comin', Elizabeth!'' to guilt him into staying.

When Fred is not arguing with his son, he can be found with friends Grady (Whitman Mayo), Melvin (Slappy White), Bubba (Don Bexley) and Rollo (Nathaniel Taylor) reminiscing about the old days, or with his girlfriend, nurse Donna Harris (Lynn Hamilton). He also spends much of his time arguing with his late wife's sister, Esther Anderson (LaWanda Page), who manages a dilapidated rooming house next to the junkyard.

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Old 01-05-2003, 08:13 PM   #2
DarleneIllyria
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That's a very interesting article. Thanks for posting it, Impressions.
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Old 01-06-2003, 02:18 AM   #3
scott cokeley
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Thanks for posting the article on Demond Wilson. Very interesting reading......
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Old 02-09-2003, 01:14 PM   #4
Brett Ferino
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He's full of gospel/ministry. And acting as well!
Hey, isn't Willie Aames now a minister?
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