Eddie Foy III, a casting director who worked on such classic series as Happy Days, Cheers, M*A*S*H and The Monkees, and was a third-generation member of the legendary Foy show business clan, died November 3 in a fall at his home in Denison, IA. He was 83.
The son of actor Eddie Foy Jr., he grew up around celebrities in New York City and did some acting in films and TV before segueing to casting in the 1970s. His grandfather, Eddie Foy Sr., headed the famed family vaudeville act Eddie Foy and the Seven Little Foys, which included Eddie Foy Jr., who continued a successful acting career into adulthood.
The vaudeville family’s story was told in the 1955 movie The Seven Little Foys starring Bob Hope and James Cagney.
Eddie Foy III followed family tradition into acting – early credits included roles on 1950s-60s TV series like Highway Patrol and Father Knows Best – but found his greatest success as a casting director.
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According to his spokesman, Michael Saltzman, who announced the death, Foy’s 42-year casting career included jobs at Columbia Pictures/Screen Gems, 20th Century Fox and Dick Clark Productions. He was Director of Casting for ABC and Vice President of Casting for NBC.
His credits include some of the most iconic TV shows of the 1960s and ’70s: Gidget, The Donna Reed Show, I Dream of Jeannie, Charlie’s Angels, The Poseidon Adventure, Mork and Mindy, The Monkees, Happy Days, Roots I and II, Shogun and Barney Miller. He worked on The Emmy Awards, and was a longstanding independent Casting Director and Talent Executive for The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.
According to Saltzman, Foy recently was honored by the Academy of Television Arts and Science, Archives Division, for his casting career.
In a 2003 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Foy said, “My advice to new casting directors? Go read a little book called The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Find out about Noel Coward, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe and Edward Albee. Find out why Spencer Tracy and Miss [Katharine] Hepburn never took their clothes off and left their love to be your fantasy.”
Between his acting and casting days, Foy worked in the boxing world, serving as cut man for champion featherweight Davey Moore in 1959. He also was on the board of the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
He is survived by Jan, his wife of 23 years; daughter and son-in-law Dina and Scott McMaster; stepchilden Tim and Laura Standley; and grandchildren Faith and Jeziah McMaster.
Two celebrations of Foy’s life are set for 1 PM Saturday at Corona Fields Church in Corona and 7 PM Monday at the DGA in Los Angeles.
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