The Fox was built in 1929 by movie pioneer William Fox as a showcase for the films of the Fox Film Corporation and elaborate stage shows. It was one of a group of five spectacular Fox Theatres built by Fox in the late 1920s. (The others were the Fox Theatres in Brooklyn, Atlanta, Detroit, and San Francisco.)
When the theatre opened on January 31, 1929, it was reportedly the second-largest theater in the United States, with 5,060 seats. It was one of St. Louis's leading movie theaters through the 1960s and has survived to become a versatile performing arts venue.
The Fox was designed by an architect specialising in theatres, C. Howard Crane, in an eclectic blend of Asian decorative motifs sometimes called Siamese Byzantine. The interior is the architectural twin of another Fox Theatre built in Detroit in 1928. Reporters in 1929 described the Fox Theatres in St. Louis and Detroit as "awe-inspiringly fashioned after Hindu (sic) Mosques of Old India, bewildering in their richness and dazzling in their appointments ... striking a note that reverberates around the architectural and theatrical worlds."
William Fox nicknamed the style the "Eve Leo Style" in tribute to his wife, who decorated the interior with furnishings, paintings and sculpture she had bought on her trips overseas.
The Fox Theatre closed in March 1978 and was purchased by Fox Associates in 1981. The theater was restored at a price of at least $3 million and in comparison, the Fox cost $6 million to build in 1929. It reopened in September 1982 with the Broadway musical Barnum. Fox Theatricals is also the operator of the Briar Street Theater in Chicago.
The Fox seats 4,192 theatergoers plus 234 in the private Fox Club.