Harry Fox: Purported Inventor of the Fox Trot

Harry Fox (1882-1959), vaudeville song and dance man, and purported inventor in 1914 of the dance known as the Fox Trot was born on May 25.

His real name was Arthur Carringford; he is said to have named himself his ancestor, the famous clown George L. Fox.

For a short time, he was married to serial monogamist  Jenny Dolly of the Dolly Sisters and the two were briefly united as a vaudeville team. After a tentative career in silent films and talkies, Fox lapsed into obscurity.

For a real head-scratcher, watch his 1929 Vitaphone short Harry Fox and His Six American Beauties, which not only showcases his singing and dancing abilities, but an oddly mean spirited sense of humor (the “American Beauties” are all older, out-of-shape women, and he pokes fun of them on camera).

Fox was in lots of movies in the 30s and 40s, but mostly as an uncredited extra — quite a come down for someone whose name essentially remains a household word.

To find out more about Harry Fox and the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.



6 Responses to “Harry Fox: Purported Inventor of the Fox Trot”

  1. On the contrary, Harry Fox did not “lapse into obscurity”; he ended-up with a greater, longer-lasting success than most vaudevillians experienced that continues to this day: The Harry Fox Office, licensing music around the world. Also, Harry claimed to invent the Fox trot, but many who knew him doubted it.


    • Hi, Bobb. Well, none of my references mention him in connection with the agency, and when you go to the agency’s web site, they don’t mention Fox himself anywhere. Enlighten us, please!


  2. […] of the Jolson hit “Rock-a-bye Your Baby (With a Dixie Melody)”. The next year, Jenny married Harry Fox, inventor of the Fox […]


  3. […] of 50 or so “new” ones now being preserved, mostly of more obscure artists, although Harry Fox (inventor of the Fox Trot), and Jimmy Conlin (who appeared in many Preston Sturges films) were among them).  The other acts […]


  4. […] of Society he officially starred for the first time. In Hangman Express (1913) with Fanny Brice and Harry Fox, he got down on one knee for the first time. He later claimed that it was an accidental response to […]


  5. […] “once they got to know him.” This was the image of most of them: Al Jolson, Harry Richman, Harry Fox, and later Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, etc. etc, and on into the rock […]


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