Sanford and Son: Top 5 Grady Wilson Episodes.

Kendall Rivers
4 min readMar 24


Everybody loves Grady. Fred Sanford’s best friend and sidekick, Grady Wilson was a lovable goofball who wasn’t always the sharpest tool in the shed but was always good for a laugh and was ride or die for Fred anytime anywhere. Grady became a fan favorite, so much so that when Redd Foxx walked out on the show in the middle of season 3 due to a big contract dispute it was Grady Wilson who stepped up to the plate and filled the void. Whitman Mayo did an amazing job filling in for Foxx, and the chemistry between he and Demond Wilson was surprisingly great. Now it’s time to dig into the top 5 all time best Grady centric episodes that gave our favorite goofy sidekick the spotlight. “Good Goobley Goo!”

5. This Little Tv Went to Market. Season 3, episode 5.

Synopsis: Fred and Lamont’s TV set is on its last legs and Lamont considers buying a brand new one, however Fred buys a used color TV set for cheap. Things get out of hand when Fred’s friend Grady stops by and recognizes Fred’s new set as his set that was stolen. Fred quickly wants an out of the situation and sells it to his neighbor Julio for $50.

This marked Grady’s first ever appearance on the show, and the fact that it turned out to be a landmark episode is just a tribute to the greatness of the Grady character and his wonderful chemistry with both Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson. A hilarious and ridiculous episode that is one of the ones that I rewatch over and over again.

4. Grady and His Lady. Season 4, episode 4.

Synopsis: Grady is bursting with news and breaks it to Fred and Lamont that he’s engaged to a woman he met at J.C. Penny.

Lots of great Grady moments in this one. A classic and funny episode that also showed a little heart by delving into the true friendship between Fred and Grady and how much Fred really cares about his friendship with Grady.

3. Once a Thief. Season 4, episode 15.

Synopsis: Grady steps in to protect the Sanford `treasures’ when Lamont invites an ex-convict friend home.

I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Whitman Mayo to fill the huge void that Redd Foxx left, but he certainly held it down quite nicely during the stint, and in this episode he really nails the Fred Sanford like essence while still feeling like good ol’ Shady Grady. His interplay with Aunt Esther was great and a great homage to the classic Fred\Esther dynamic.

2. Lamont Goes Karate. Season 3, episode 19.

Synopsis: Grady has been left in charge while Fred is visiting family in St Louis and has promised to look after Lamont who comes home with a bloody nose, courtesy of Jo-Jo Jackson, after a fight over a woman. After taking a couple of karate lessons, Lamont goes back to the bar to confront Jo-Jo. However, a concerned Grady, decides tries to intervene.

A fan favorite, this hilarious episode is a real showcase for all the actors involved, but Grady in particular provided many of the greatest laughs of the episode with his many quotable one liners and reactions. The running gag of Grady always forgetting Lamont’s name was always funny, but this episode really showed how much the dynamic between Lamont and Grady had grown as Grady does all he can to protect his Godson. As this period of Grady taking the reigns continued the dynamic between Grady and Lamont evolved further in Fred’s absence.

  1. A Little Extra Security. Season 4, episode 13.

Synopsis: Grady must decide whether to lie when he receives too many Social Security checks.

Perhaps the finest piece of work Whitman Mayo did during his time on the show in this author’s opinion. Grady Wilson was at his very best, worst and funniest in this classic episode. This is an episode that clearly could’ve and would’ve normally been a situation Fred would get himself into, but this story certainly fit the Grady character like a glove and Whitman Mayo played it to the hilt.

Honorable Mentions: Tyranny, Thy Name is Grady, Hello, Cousin Emma… Goodbye, Cousin Emma, Will the Real Fred Sanford Please Do Something?, Grady The Star Boarder, and Fred’s Treasure Garden.

Next time we dig into the top five best episodes of the Puerto Rican cool dude Julio Fuentes. Till next time, folks!



Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters.