Song-and-dance man Eddie Foy, Jr. (b. New Rochelle, New York, February 4, 1905; d. Woodland Hills, California, July 15, 1983), famous in mid-life as Hinesie in The Pajama Game (Broadway 1954 and film 1957), began his career at age five as one of vaudevillian Eddie Foy’s (1856–1928) seven children who were part of their dad’s act. Over an extraordinarily long and busy career, he appeared in many revues and Broadway extravaganzas, dozens of B-movies, and scores of television shows, portraying his own father at least six times (Frontier Marshal 1939, Lillian Russell 1940, Yankee Doodle Dandy 1942, Wilson 1944). He was nominated for a Tony Award® in 1958 for his performance as the cartoon-character Rumple in the short-lived Rumple.
Born Edwin Fitzgerald, Jr. (Fitzgerald was the senior Eddie’s name as well), Eddie performed with his dad and siblings Bryan (b. 1896), Charley (b. 1898), Richard (b. ????), Mary (b. 1901), Madeline (b. 1903), and Irving (b. 1908) until Eddie Foy, Sr., died in 1928. (The originals were captured on film in 1915 in A Favorite Fool, but the Foys attained a permanent memorial in the 1955 screen biography The Seven Little Foys, narrated by Charley, in which the father was portrayed by Bob Hope.) Eddie Junior was the only one of the family to pursue a stage and film career.
He made his Broadway debut in Florenz Ziegfeld’s Show Girl (1929), starred in Jerome Kern’s The Cat and the Fiddle (1931), and played the comic in a long-running revival of Victor Herbert’s The Red Mill (1945). His last stint on Broadway was in the unsuccessful Donnybrook! (1961).
Eddie Foy, Jr.’s film credits include Joan of Ozark (1942) with Judy Canova, The Farmer Takes a Wife (1953), Lucky Me (1954), Bells Are Ringing (playing the bookie Sandor, 1960), Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961), 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia (1968), and Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976).
On television, Foy had a leading role in Fair Exchange, the first hour-long sitcom, and appeared on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, My Living Doll, Burke’s Law, ABC Stage 67, My Three Sons, and Nanny and the Professor.
He died at seventy-eight of pancreatic cancer.
Photo courtesy of The Everett Collection