American entertainer Eddie Foy Jr. was a performer since childhood. He was one of the "Seven Little Foys" vaudeville act, organized -- in a sense -- by his father, legendary soft-shoe comedian Eddie Foy Sr. Virtually a dead ringer for his famous dad, Eddie Jr. accepted an offer from Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld to strike out on his own in 1929, making his screen debut in the early '30s in short-subject comedies. Eddie's brother Bryan Foy was by then in charge of the B-picture unit of Warner Bros. pictures, and in true Hollywood-nepotist fashion lined up several supporting movie roles for Eddie and another brother, Charley Foy. Eddie's most significant work in the years 1939-1945 occurred when he was tapped to play his father in historical films; he recreated a true incident from Eddie Sr.'s barnstorming days in Frontier Marshal (1939), engaged in a duel of wits with George M. Cohan (James Cagney) in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), and entertained a U.S. president with a rendition of "On Moonlight Bay" in Wilson (1944).
It wasn't easy to wrest himself from the spectre of his famous father, but Eddie Foy Jr. built up a strong reputation as a musical comedy star in his own right. He scored a hit as a mercurial pajama-factory foreman in the 1954 Broadway production The Pajama Game, recreating the role for the 1957 film version. An atypical movie assignment came about in 1960, when the very Irish Foy was cast as a German bookie in Bells Are Ringing. A frequent TV guest star, Foy headlined the first hour-long situation comedy, Fair Exchange, in 1962; unfortunately the program died in less than a year. A later attempt at a series was shown as a 1967 one-shot on The Bob Hope Chrysler Theatre. Eddie starred, once again, as his father in The Seven Little Foys, the TV version of Foy Sr.'s filmed life story, which had starred Bob Hope in 1955. Despite Eddie Jr.'s inspired hoofing, a guest spot by Mickey Rooney as George M. Cohan, and the presence of the Osmond family as the Foys, this 60-minute pilot film didn't jell and failed to make the series grade. Always popular in England, Eddie Foy Jr. made his last film appearance in the British comedy 30 is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia (1967) -- starring, written, and scored by Foy fan Dudley Moore.