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LaWanda Page was born on this date in 1920. She was a Black comedic character actress.
Born in Cleveland and raised in St. Louis, Page began her career as a dancer and chorus girl billed as “the Bronze Goddess of Fire” and later became a stand-up comic. Her greatest fame began in the 1950s when comedian Redd Foxx, a childhood friend, asked her to join his Norman Lear sitcom adapted from the British series “Steptoe and Son.” Page signed on as Fred Sanford's crusty sister-in-law, Esther Anderson, in 1973 and stayed with “Sanford and Son” until the series ended in 1977.
She reprised the role in two short-lived spin-offs, “The Sanford Arms” in 1977 and Foxx's “Sanford” in 1980. She also made guest appearances on Foxx's variety show, “The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour,” the same year. She made television commercials, including a well-received one for Atlanta-based Church's Fried Chicken.
LaWanda Page, 81, best known for her role as the Bible-thumping Aunt Esther in the 1970s TV hit “Sanford and Son,” died September 14, 2002, in Los Angeles of complications from diabetes.