LaWanda Page, “Black Queen of Comedy And Bronze Goddess of Fire” During the 1970s

Written by Jae Jones

Do you remember “Aunt Esther” in the 1970s TV sitcom Sanford and Son? The role of “Aunt Esther” was actually played by . She was born October 19, 1920 as “Alberta Peal.” Page was an American actress and comedian. During her tenure as a stand-up comic, which existed up to the early part of the 1990s, she was called The Queen of Comedy, or by many in the African-American community, “The Queen of Comedy.” But, what many people do not know is that she was also known as the “The Bronze Goddess of Fire.” Page, performed an act that included her eating fire and lighting cigarettes with her fingertips.  She performed the act once while appearing on the Sanford and Son Show. Another interesting fact about Page is she was actually the older sister of “Lynn Hamilton” on the Sanford and Son Show, who portrayed Donna Harris.


Despite the love hate relationship Page and Foxx had on the show, they were actually close friends. The two knew each other from their teenage years and remained close friends. Page later chose to go into the entertainment field and appeared in Sanford and Son along with her friend. Page, struggled with the part of “Aunt Esther” at first, and directors wanted to hire someone else for the part, but Redd Foxx threatened to leave the show if they did. Page later recorded several live comedy albums for the Laff Records label in the late 1960s and early 1970s under the “LaWanda” stage name. One release, a gold-selling album called Watch It, Sucker!, which came from one of her catchphrases on Sanford and Son.


Later in Page’s acting appeared on several other shows such as Amen, Martin, Family Matters and many others. She also appeared on Circus of the Stars as a fire eater. Before her death, Page appeared in several comical Church’s chicken commercials. Page died of complications from diabetes on September 14, 2002.



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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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