Saturday, March 17, 2012
Edwin Fitzgerald 'Eddie Foy, Sr.' was born March 9, 1856 in Greenwich Village, New York City. Eddie's parents immigrated to the US from Ireland in 1855 and settled into Greenwich Village where he came to be born. His father passed away in an insane asylum in 1862 from syphilis-induced dementia and his mother took Eddie and his three siblings to go live in Chicago. Eddie started performing in the Chicagoan streets at age six and at age 15 changed his name to Foy. He worked as a supernumerary in theatrical productions and was introduced into the theatre as a result. In 1979, Eddie married Rose Howland, one of the singling Howland sisters, and both traveled with a troupe before settling in Philadelphia. That same year, Rose died in childbirth as did the child she was delivering. Eddie stayed with the troupe for two more years before quitting and going on the road to perform all over the United States. In 1888, Foy returned to Chicago as the star comedian in his own company. In 1896, Eddie married his third wife...his 2ND marriage cannot be verified...who bore him 11 children of whom 7 survived. On December 30, 1903, Eddie was on tour with 'Mr. Bluebeard' at Chicago's Iroquois Theatre where a malfunctioning spotlight set fire to scenery backstage. Not wanting the crowd to panic, Eddie stayed onstage until the very last minute and was able to escape through a sewer. 600 people lost their lives due to lax safety measures and locked doors. Eddie formed a family vaudeville act with his 7 children called 'Eddie Foy and The Seven Little Foys' famously recreated in film by Bob Hope and James Cagney. Each of the 7 Foys left to pursue their own careers and did very well. He passed away in 1928 doing what he loved. A heart attack while headlining in the hit Broadway comedy 'The Fallen Star'. Find the connection!