Sonny Fox, Wonderama Host, Dies at 95 Due to COVID-19 Complications
Sonny Fox, the beloved host of 1960s children's show Wonderama, has died at the age of 95.
The news was confirmed in a statement posted to his official website, which said that the TV personality died due to complications from the novel coronavirus.
"It is with sadness that we share the news of Sonny's passing in Los Angeles on Sunday January 24th of Covid Related Pneumonia," read the statement. "We will post more as we learn more of where to send your condolences."
Fox rose to fame after he was hired to replace Bill Britten and Doris Faye as the host of Wonderama in 1959. The Sunday morning staple featured a mix of cartoons, celebrity guests, magic tricks and more, and was well-known for the way it engaged children.
"We had an audience, maybe 50 kids in the studio," Fox said of the program during a chat with The Interviews in 2008. "Just from keeping them from getting bored between takes, I started talking with them, doing some games with them, and then one of the guys said, 'Why don't you do that on the air?'"
"I gradually began to understand what the show was about; the show was about me and the kids and about exploring their minds and getting to see where I could take them," he continued. "Then the show began to be hugely successful. After about a year, I had [the kids'] trust, their loyalty."
In a more recent interview with Observer, Fox said he was "amazed" by how well fans remembered the show.
"I am as amazed as you are at the vividness of the memories [from fans of the show]," he said in 2017. "That's both wonderful and it's frightening; it's frightening to the extent that we continue to put stuff out there for kids without thinking about what we're doing without realizing what a terrific and impressive thing you are doing for kids, and how they will carry along those memories for years and well into their adulthood."
In addition to fronting Wonderama from 1959 through 1967, Fox had hosting gigs on various game shows, including The $64,000 Challenge, The Price Is Right and To Tell the Truth.
He is survived by daughter Meredith, sons Dana and Tracy, and grandchildren Shaun, Kelley, Corrin, Casey, Melissa, Rachel and Kelly. His fourth child, son Christopher, died in 2014.
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