Comedian John Fox succumbs to colon cancer, dies at 59 (Update)

By | May 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm | 11 comments | feature slider, News | Tags: , ,

Update: June 4

Fox’s family confirms John was 59 when he died. John is survived by his children Trundy, Ryan, Robbyn and his grandchildren Samantha, Singen, Kellan, Cruz and Chevy. His son Ryan had this to say to Laughspin:

My dad was lucky enough to be able to do something he loved on stage for 30 years. He had an abundance of friends and fans as well as the joy of knowing that he influenced many up and coming comedians over the years. He touched so many lives and made so many people laugh that the world just won’t be the same without him. He will be forever missed and never forgotten


In early March, veteran comedian John Fox made an announcement through YouTube: “My name is John Fox, and I’m dying. I have stage four colon cancer, and there’s not a stage five…The doctors said I got two weeks to two months to live.” We can confirm that yesterday at about 5 pm PST, Fox lost his battle with the disease. He was 55 59.

Fox honed his comedy chops at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, making his first appearance there on June 14, 1979. Three months later, he was a paid regular — not an easy accomplishment — and six months after that, he scored his first television gig. Variety once described Fox like this: “He’s sort of like the wacked out, weirded, next door neighbor who drops by to borrow a beer and you can’t get rid of him type. Everyone has a friend like this. You just can’t help liking him.”

Comedian Tammy Pescatelli has fond memories of Fox. “He was a cantankerous old fart,” she tells Laughspin, adding she got a chance to see him in hospice a few weeks ago. “I remembered him from the Rodney Dangerfield specials when I was a kid and then was thrilled to work with him a number of times over the years. He was gruff and jaded, but had the heart of a Teddy bear. So many comics of my generation were inspired by him.”

Although Fox was physically weak during his last few months, sustaining himself on little more than ice chips and morphine for the pain, the comedian made the best of his life. He established the John Fox Memorial Comedians Cancer Fund, to help provide financial support to comedians so that they can get checkups– including colonoscopies, pap smears, mammograms and other routine cancer screening tests. Fox had explained the reason he had barely any chance to fight the late-stage cancer is that he never got checked out when the cancer was more treatable.

You can donate to the fund here, and get more information about the fund at the official website. You can watch the aforementioned video below.

And let’s check out Fox in better times. This is him onstage, performing on Opening Night of Rodney’s Place, a 1989 television special that celebrated the debut of Rodney Dangerfield’s new comedy club in Las Vegas. Fox was in good company, seeing as the likess of Tim Allen and Jeff Foxworthy also appeared on the show.

This final video is from a 1994 appearance on Comedy Central.

Comedy Central Stand-Up
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Our thoughts go out to Fox’s friends and family. Check back for updates.

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Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

  • Ron

    R.I.P John, You will Be Missed

  • Jayster

    Folks…you GOTTA get yourself checked out…….I had a cousin that waited too long and he died of the same thing…RIP, John!

  • Matt

    John was a good buddy of mine in Chicago for over 15 years and we had lots of fun times when he was off the road and back home in the Old Town area of the city. I found out that this world is a lot smaller than we all seem to think. For example, I found out he was best friends with one of my own father’s best friends, but I didn’t connect the dots…only years later when we would hang out in the area did I find this out. We also ran in the same entertainment and music circles in Los Angeles but, never directly knew each other. I was looking for you on Wells St. buddy, but I already felt you were gone. I miss the hang time we used to have, I’m sure you’re cracking everyone up back home in the light….

  • Carl Macon

    Sad, I worked at the LAFF STOP in Costa Mesa back in the mid eighties. John was Hilarious and very cool to the people in the back ground. A very funny guy. R.I.P. Amigo

  • Lex Smith

    I am retired in Montana now.  I used to live across the street from THE PUNCHLINE in Atlanta.  John Fox is and always was among my favorites. I showed my wife a few of his youtube clips and she cracked up on ARCHIBALD BARISOL  ..also one of my favorites.  I was a nightly attendee and shared a few with John and his buddy Bazel.  I am shocked with his passing having seen him many many times.  RIP good man !!

  • Hartsgirl62301

    John…it was such an honor to have spent my Wednesday with you over the past months!  I will miss you outside on the patio and know you made friends that will miss you dearly.  I am sorry that you suffered…but know that you have found your eternity in heaven.  My heart is sad…but I know that you are now at peace!  RIP my beloved friend!!

  • Garyeewing

    Love you man. Thanks for the guidance throughout the years… RIP John.

  • Danphillips10

    John John John. The same on as off. Thanks for the memories

  • Jury

    R.I.P. John. Listened to all the time on Bob & Tom. What a funny guy. So sad.

  • Bucinka

    I am heartbroken. John was so effing funny on that Dangerfield special.

  • Seattlestone

    I first saw John at Seekers Comedy Club in Scottsdale, Az. in 1988. I have seen him countless times since, mostly in Las Vegas and then Seattle, where I became friends with him and absolutely loved hanging out with the guy bar-hopping and partying around listening to new material he was about to try out onstage when he came here about twice a year playing at Swannie’s Comedy Underground. I never missed his shows in Seattle from 1997 until he became too ill to travel around 2011. I miss him already and know that the world is a sadder place without him among us. Godspeed John Fox. I love you man.

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