Whitman Mayo

Whitman Mayo has had an impressive career in the entertainment industry, from starring in classic films to producing hit television shows. He is best known for his role as Grady Wilson in the classic television sitcom, Sanford and Son, where he played a wise-cracking sidekick to the lead character, Fred Sanford. Mayo was also a successful producer and director, working on projects for television and film. In this article, we will explore Mayo’s life and career, from his humble beginnings to his impressive career milestones. We will look at his impact on the entertainment industry and how he continues to be celebrated decades after his retirement. It is a story of hard work, perseverance, and success that is sure to inspire.

Whitman Mayo (Grady Wilson’s ) Grave -WTDWD Episode 260


Who Was Whitman Mayo?

Whitman Mayo was an American actor, best known for his role as Grady Wilson in the 70s sitcom Sanford and Son. Born in New York City in 1930, he began his acting career in the 1950s. Mayo had an extensive list of credits, including roles in movies such as The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh and The Super Cops, as well as TV shows such as M*A*S*H, The Jeffersons, and Amen.

Mayo was a favorite among movie and TV fans, as his comedic timing and sharp wit made him a captivating presence. He was also known for his impressive vocal abilities as a singer and storyteller. His talent was recognized with a number of awards, including the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in Sanford and Son.

Mayo’s life was cut short when he passed away in 2001 at the age of 71 due to complications from diabetes. His legacy lives on, however, in the characters he brought to life. He continues to be remembered by fans for his memorable performances.

Today, there are numerous organizations that seek to honor Whitman Mayo’s legacy, including The Whitman Mayo Scholarship Fund, which was created in his memory. This fund helps to support young actors in their pursuit to achieve their dreams.

From his comedic roles in TV and movies to his role as a mentor for young actors, Whitman Mayo’s life and career have made an impact that will continue to be felt for years to come.

Early Life & Career

Whitman Mayo was an American actor best known for his role on the 1970s sitcom Sanford and Son. Born in New York City in 1930, Mayo grew up in an environment heavily influenced by music and the performing arts. He got his start in acting as a young man, performing in plays such as A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway and in numerous other stage productions.

Mayo’s big break came when he was selected for the part of Grady Wilson in Sanford and Son. Alongside Redd Foxx, Mayo created one of the most beloved duos on television. The show ran for six seasons, from 1972 to 1977, and was one of the most popular sitcoms of its time. Mayo’s comedic timing and wonderful characterization of Grady Wilson made him a fan favorite.

Mayo continued his career in TV and film, appearing in over a hundred productions in his lifetime. He is also remembered for his roles in the films The Jerk and Uptown Saturday Night. Mayo was one of the founding members of the Negro Ensemble Company, an organization dedicated to increasing the representation of black actors and playwrights in entertainment.

Whitman Mayo passed away in 2001 at the age of 71. He left behind a legacy of laughter and great art. His work is remembered and celebrated to this day. With his wonderful performances in film, television, and on stage, Mayo has forever etched his name into the history of entertainment.

Notable Roles

Whitman Mayo was an American actor best known for his role as Grady Wilson on the 1970s sitcom Sanford and Son. He starred in the show for five years, from 1972 to 1977, alongside Redd Foxx. Mayo was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1932 and moved to Los Angeles after finishing high school. He began his career as an extra in a number of films in the early 1950s before landing more substantial roles.

Mayo’s most famous role was as the affable and wise-cracking Grady Wilson, the long-suffering best friend of Fred Sanford (Foxx) on Sanford and Son. His performance was highly regarded and won him an NAACP Image Award in 1975. While on the show, Mayo also appeared in other series such as Good Times and The Jeffersons.

Mayo was also an accomplished stage actor, appearing in productions of The Emperor Jones, Hello Dolly, and The Amen Corner. He also had a recurring role in the series Major Dad, and made guest appearances in shows such as The Facts of Life and The Hughleys. Mayo was also an active voice actor, dubbing the character of Grandmama Addams in the 1992 film version of The Addams Family.

Mayo passed away in 2001 due to complications of diabetes and congestive heart failure. He was 69 at the time of his death, leaving behind an impressive legacy and a lasting impression on American television. His memory lives on in the numerous reruns of Sanford and Son and other productions in which he appeared.


Whitman Mayo is best known for his portrayal of Grady Wilson in the popular 1970s sitcom, Sanford and Son. Mayo was a multifaceted actor who had a career that stretched over four decades. While Mayo was an entertaining comedic actor, he also was an advocate for civil rights and a champion of the working class.

Mayo was born in 1922 in Columbia, South Carolina and he began his career in the theater. He made his Broadway debut in 1955 in a production of “Raisin in the Sun” and he made his first feature film appearance in 1957 in “Edge of the City.” He followed this up with a 1959 performance in “Odds Against Tomorrow,” which was nominated for an Oscar.

In 1972, he was cast as Grady Wilson, Fred Sanford’s best friend in “Sanford and Son”. Mayo’s portrayal of Grady Wilson became iconic and he was credited with helping make the show a hit with audiences. Mayo remained with the show until its end in 1977, and he continued to act in various film and TV roles until his death in 2001.

During his lifetime, Mayo was a vocal advocate for civil rights and for the rights of the working class. He was a strong supporter of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund and he even founded the Whitman Mayo Foundation, which provided scholarships to African American college students.

Mayo’s legacy remains to this day. His work on “Sanford and Son” has been widely celebrated, and his commitment to civil rights advocacy is remembered fondly by many

Behind the Scenes

Whitman Mayo was an American actor best known for his role as Grady Wilson in the television series Sanford and Son. Mayo was a trailblazer in the African-American entertainment industry, appearing in numerous films and television shows throughout his career. He began his acting career in the 1950s, appearing in mostly uncredited roles. He had a memorable role in the 1962 film Black Like Me, which highlighted racism in the South.

Mayo’s most well-known role was as Grady Wilson in Sanford and Son. Mayo played the straight-man to Redd Foxx’s comedic character, with Grady often confused by Fred’s antics. He was a central figure in the show, and viewers grew to love him for his quick wit and dry humor. Mayo was on the show from 1972-1977, and it was his most successful role.

Mayo was nominated for two Emmy Awards for his role in Sanford and Son, and he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976. He was known for his comedic timing and his ability to bring life to any role he played. Mayo’s legacy lives on, with fans of Sanford and Son still citing him as one of the show’s most beloved characters.

Mayo had an impressive career in show business, appearing in over 75 films and television shows. His work is still celebrated by fans, with many hoping that he will be posthumously inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Mayo was a true pioneer, blazing the trail for other African-American actors in the entertainment industry.

Personal Life

Whitman Mayo, born in 1932, is an American actor and comedian best known for his performance as Grady Wilson on the hit television series Sanford and Son. Mayo’s career spanned over five decades, starting in the early 1950s. He also starred in films such as Uptight, Cotton Comes to Harlem, and Doctor Detroit.

In addition to his acting career, Mayo’s personal life has been equally impressive. He was married twice and had four children, three girls and one son. He was a lifelong baseball fan and avid supporter of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mayo was also a devoted family man and mentor to many, especially young African American actors.

Mayo was an active member of the Los Angeles community and was known for his charitable work. He was an honorary member of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, and was inducted into the organization’s Hall Of Fame in 2011. Mayo also participated in various nonprofit events, such as the United Negro College Fund’s annual celebrity golf tournament.

In his later years, Mayo was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away in 2001 at the age of 69. Despite this, his legacy lives on through his work, which continues to be seen and enjoyed by audiences all over the world. Mayo’s influence on the entertainment industry is undeniable, and he remains a beloved figure in popular culture.

It is clear that Whitman Mayo was a man of great character and talent, who left an indelible mark on both the entertainment industry and the Los Angeles community.


Whitman Mayo was an incredible actor, and his legacy lives on through his many iconic roles. He was a pioneer in Hollywood, paving the way for future actors of color in the industry. He was a talented artist with a passion for his craft and a great sense of humor that he used to bring joy to those around him. His portrayal of Grady Wilson from Sanford and Son is a classic example of how he used his talent to create unforgettable characters. Whitman Mayo was an actor who truly made history in Hollywood and left a lasting impact on the industry. He will continue to be remembered and celebrated for years to come. Let us take a moment to honor his legacy and the gift of his artistry.

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