Whitman Mayo had been part of the Harlem-based Lafayette Theatre for years before he received an opportunity to act as Redd Foxx's jittery, oddball best friend Grady Wilson on the hit show "Sanford and Son". The role was supposed to be only a one-shot, but the character was such a hit with audiences that he was written into the show as a regular. Mayo's performance was memorable and, at times, overshadowed the show's lead characters. Unfortunately for Mayo, that success didn't translate to the inevitable spinoff show, "Grady", that aired while "Sanford and Son" itself was still in production. "Grady" got the axe after only 12 episodes and Mayo returned to the original program. He worked on another "Sanford and Son" spinoff, which aired after the show ended, called "Sanford Arms". He continued to work on various television programs over the years, mostly in small roles, but it was, not surprisingly, difficult to move away from Grady's shadow. Mayo can also be seen in small parts in the films "The Main Event", "D.C. Cab", and "Boyz n the Hood".