Biography of Demond Wilson: The Sanford and Son Star Actor

There are so many Hollywood stars, who despite their incredible gifts and exceptional acting prowess, left their flourishing career to become ministers of God and Demond Wilson is one of them. The celebrated American personality was a phenomenal actor, who earned lots of admiration for portraying Lamont Sanford on the NBC series, Sanford and Son (1972-1977). He is also known for his appearance in films and TV shows like Baby…I’m Back! (1978), The New Odd Couple (1982-1983), and Dan Curtis directed 1993’s comedy-drama film, Me and the Kid.

It was quite a shock when news broke that Wilson was leaving Hollywood to pursue his childhood dream of being a preacher. He has maintained that his decision to become a pastor wasn’t in pursuit of a dream but a response to a calling. According to him, God called him away from the movie industry and refined him to preach the gospel of Christ. He has stressed on several occasions that there is no desire to act left in him.

Who is Demond Wilson and How Old is He?

Demond marks his birth anniversary on the 13th of October every year. He was born as Grady Demond Wilson on that date in 1946. Though his place of birth was in Valdosta, Georgia, he was brought up in New York City. It is said that his parents raised him a Catholic and that his grandmother was a Pentecostal. He usually spent time with her, especially during summer. Wilson almost lost his life when he was 13, after his appendix ruptured, a devastating incident that made him vow to serve God in some capacity as an adult.

Demond developed an interest in church activities in the early days of his life; he served as an altar boy and even toyed with the idea of becoming a priest. But since he studied tap dance and ballet, he was drawn to the entertainment industry. Records have it that he made his Broadway debut when he was four years old. Demond Wilson would later serve in the 4th Infantry Division of the United States Army in Vietnam before delving into full-time acting in the late ’60s. He featured in many films and TV shows, including The Sanford and Son, Good Times, All in the Family, and Baby…I’m Back!, etc.

While his acting career was flourishing, Wilson left Hollywood to fulfill his childhood vow of serving God. As a result, he was ordained minister of God in 1984. The following year, he founded a center that provides mentoring, vocational training, and spiritual guidance to ex-prisoners called Restoration House.

Beyond being an actor and a pastor, Demond Wilson is also the founder and a member of the board of directors of the carrier “The Lord’s Airline”. The carrier is based in New Jersey and mainly deals in charter flights for religious bodies. As an author, Wilson has written a handful of Christian books, as well as many children’s books.

Demond Wilson at a Glance

Details of His Wife and Family

Demond Wilson and Cicely

Wilson has been in a marital relationship with a beautiful and supportive woman named Cicely Loise Johnston for over four decades. Although there is no much info regarding his wife, nevertheless, we do know that she was once a stewardess, who later became a model. Their union officially kicked off on 3rd May 1974 and together, they have six children.

Before becoming a pastor, Wilson was said to be addicted to cocaine. He spent as much as $1,000 each week on the hard substance and this came with a lifestyle that made it difficult for him to be faithful to his wife. He cheated on several occasions and it extensively put a strain on their relationship. However, Demond’s decision to become a pastor didn’t only save him from the devastating consequences that often follow drug addiction, it equally saved his marriage.

Is He Still Alive?

Ever since Wilson waved goodbye to the industry and spotlight, his whereabouts and well-being have become matters of interest to his loyal fans. We can, however, confirm that the former screen actor is very much alive, healthy, living away from the eyes of the public, and running the affairs of his Restoration House. The only thing that’s dead about Demond Wilson is his past Hollywood high life. As he has often expressed, the old man in him died when he embraced Jesus and became a preacher.

What is Demond Wilson’s Net Worth?

As regards the preacher’s net worth, we can’t precisely say what he has been earning from his endeavors as a Pastor, as being a Man of God isn’t a money-making business venture. However, it is a known fact that the ex-actor earned a fortune from his books, film projects, and other business endeavors. Between 1982 and 1983, he was earning as much as $40,000 per week for playing a major role as Oscar Madison in ABC’s sitcom, The New Odd Couple. 

While the exact figures of his net worth cannot be ascertained at the moment, some sources say the pastor has a net worth of $1.5 million but it is yet to be verified.

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Chinedu Ndubueze
Chinedu Ndubueze
Chinedu holds a B.SC in Mass Communications with several years of writing and editing experience. He is an advocate of closed-back headphones, horror movies, and dark humor; He believes that Peter Griffin and Stan Smith should be real people. Outside of having to write, edit, and work on other forms of content, Chinedu may keep up with the EPL or listen to everything Eminem and Jon Bellion.

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