Demond Wilson is known around the world as “Lamont,” the long-suffering son on the classic “Sanford and Son,” the Redd Foxx-starring sitcom that ran for six seasons. The show remains my favorite sitcom of all time. Why else would I drive three hours (each way) to Palm Springs, California, to sit down with Mr. Wilson to discuss his time on “Sanford and Son,” his career as a writer and why a Trump presidency doesn’t matter.
Question: What inspired you to write the book, “Second Banana: The Bitter Sweet Memoirs of the Sanford & Son Years”?
Answer: I got sick and tired of seeing people on the internet misquoting things. Now the newest thing is they’re [saying that] Lynn Hamilton, who played Donna, [is] Lawanda Page’s sister. That is the most ridiculous thing ever.
I wrote the book to set the record straight. This is the definitive truth. I have fans that send me stupid emails from around the nation and across the sea. I got tired of answering stupid stuff.
Q: Why are they bittersweet memories?
A: You married? Is your married life always sweet? Is it sometimes bitter? There’s your answer.
Q: So being on the show was a lot like a marriage?
A: It was a marriage. If there’s no synergy between the two protagonists, you’ve got nothing. You can’t act that way.
The question I’ve been asked most over the years is “What kind of relationship did you have with Redd?” The same relationship you saw in those 120-some episodes was the relationship I had with Redd: He was impossible. He was loveable. He was annoying. He was nasty. He was vile. He was sweet. And I loved him. Bittersweet.
Q: Why did ‘Sanford and Son’ suddenly end after 6 seasons?
A: Redd quit. I was walking down the hall at the studio and this anchorman came up to me and said, “Hey, Demond, how does it feel? End of an era.” I asked, “How does what feel?” He added, “Don’t you read the trades? Redd had a press conference, and he’s calling it off. Calling it quits.”
That was the only thing in the six years that I knew Redd that caused separation between us. We never had an argument. We never had cross words until that happened.
Q: This isn’t your first book.
A: My first book is called “The New Age Millennium: An Expose of Symbols, Slogans and Hidden Agendas.” When the book first came out, everybody called me a conspiracy theorist. Now the things I wrote about almost 18 years ago have come to fruition: Illuminati. Masonry. I don’t know if you know this about Hollywood, but most of the people who work have been initiated into that Illuminati stuff. I was a forerunner. I was ahead of the curve. Everybody said, “You gotta be out of your mind! Who knows about this story?”
I was in D.C. when the book broke, doing an in-store at Barnes & Noble. There was a line. The line was pretty long. And I saw this tall African-American gentleman in line. Dressed impeccable, not fancy. You could tell he was wearing a thousand-dollar suit. I told the security guards, “See that n***** over there? Watch him.” He has nothing in his hands. The procedure, as you know, is you buy the book, get in line, and I sign it. When he got up to me, I said, “Brother man, you have to go get the book.” He says, “I read your book.”
The book was just fresh in the bookstores. And it’s not the type of book you can read just like that. It took me 46 months to assemble this knowledge. Then the red flag went up. He said, “Yeah, I have one word of advice for you. Watch your back!”
Q: What do you think about this upcoming election?
A: It doesn’t matter who occupies the Oval Office. People thought Obama was going to do something for them. Obama can’t do jack squat.
My point is, If I’m a bus driver and I got a buddy who calls me up and says, “Hey, Demond, I’m over here on 16th Avenue and Indio. Can you swing over and pick me up?” I can’t. I have to stick to the route. Same for the president. The president is the CEO of the U.S. Corporation of America. America is no longer a nation, it’s a corporation. He is the CEO; he’s not the president. He’s not on the board.
He only has maybe five of six executive decisions that he can make. He can veto a lot of stuff. He can’t change things.
Q: Is it better to have someone ineffective rather than someone like Trump?
A: I don’t think Trump is scary.
Let me tell you about politics. Politicians say what people want to hear. Trump speaks his mind. I admire that. There is a problem with Hispanic Americans. Now his style of saying it leaves a lot to be desired. They wanna make him a skinhead. They wanna make him KKK. If they only knew — I’m talking about John Q. Public — if they only knew the hearts of these senators and congressmen, then Trump would seem like the Pope.
Q: You are also working on a series of children’s books, yes?
A: I have 10 of them. The first one is to promote monogamist relationships. I’ve been married forty-two years. It’s called “Mr. Fish Takes a Wife.” There are 10 separate books. One of them is the story of a little boy that lives in Africa. It’s his coming-of-age story. They are children’s books but they have content. I never read Dr Seuss hatches an egg to my kids. I liked the Beatrice Potter books. They had some content to them. The other stuff is just foolishness.