Sonny Fox, Kids TV Host on 'Wonderama', Dead at 95

Former Wonderama host Sonny Fox died on Sunday at a hospital in Encino, California, due to a coronavirus-related bout of pneumonia, THR reports. He was 95 years old. Fox's website confirms the news, telling fans more will be posted once his team learns more about where those interested can send their condolences.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Fox was hired to host Wonderama every Sunday for four hours, replacing Bill Britten and Doris Faye, in 1959. Popular segments featured magic tricks from The Amazing Randi, spelling bees, prizes, and special guests like Sen. Robert Kennedy –– who made appearances around Christmas time for four years straight, where he fielded questions from children. Called "the Carson of our elementary school years, Fox stayed on the show until 1967, when he left to host an adult talk show.

Fox was once a prisoner of war during World War II and went on to become a wartime correspondent for the Voice of America. He hosted The $64,000 Challenge, and The Price is Right. He was also the producer of the late-night talk show Tomorrow, headlined by Tom Snyder.

In a 2008 interview with the Television Academy, the accomplished host and producer revealed he doesn't have a personal favorite highlight from his career. "You know when you've had a career that spans from 1947 to 2008, picking out a highlight –– I'm tempted to say 'I'm here, that's the highlight.'"

He continued, "Somebody once asked me for an interview 'what are the fantasies in your life?' and that stopped me. I said, 'You know, I don't have any fantasies. The reality of my life has so far exceeded my childhood fantasies; I don't have fantasies; I have a life. I don't know how to say it any better than that." In 2012, he published a memoir titled, But You Made the Front Page: Wonderama, War, and a Whole Bunch of Life.


Fox's legacy was larger than his resume as a producer, fulfilling his original wish to be remembered as "more than just being a television personality or a star or a producer." When asked how he would like to be remembered, Fox told the TV Academy, "I'd like to be remembered as someone who understood and appreciated the moments as they happened, not just in retrospect. I knew as I was doing what I was doing how special all of this was."

Fox is survived by his daughter Meredith, sons Dana and Tracy, and grandchildren Shaun, Kelley, Corrin, Casey, Melissa, Rachel, and Kelly. His son Christopher died in 2014.