Although LaWanda Page first became known to a mainstream audience through her role as the self-righteous Aunt Esther on the hit sitcom "Sanford and Son," fans of African-American nightclub comedians and "party records" first knew her as a filthy-mouthed, libidinous stand-up comic in the tradition of Moms Mabley in the 1960s. Raised in St. Louis, where her school friends included a boy named John Elroy Sanford, Page entered show business performing a nightclub magic act. After she moved to Los Angeles, this transitioned into a brassy late-night stand-up routine that by 1960s standards was quite daring. Page's nightclub act was recorded on several LPs for the adults-only Laff Records label, which also released several LPs by Page's old childhood friend Sanford, now trading in an even raunchier line of stand-up comedy under the name Redd Foxx. Page had left show business and moved back home in the early '70s when Foxx persuaded her to join his new sitcom "Sanford and Son" as his antagonistic sister-in-law; although she had never acted before, the heated banter between Foxx and Page quickly became many fans' favorite part of the show. After retiring the Aunt Esther character following the short-lived 1981 spinoff "Sanford," Page appeared in a handful of TV shows and films playing slight variations on her by now well-established sassy old woman persona, including Ice Cube's "Friday" and a recurring role on Martin Lawrence's popular early 1990s sitcom "Martin."