Red Skelton

comedian Red Skelton

Richard Bernard "Red" Skelton was an American entertainer best known for being a national radio and television comedian between 1937 and 1971. Skelton, who has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, began his show business career in his teens as a circus clown and continued on vaudeville and Broadway and in films, radio, TV, night clubs, and casinos, all while he pursued an entirely separate career as an artist.
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Biography
Red Skelton's personal information overview.
Birthday
18 July 1913

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News
News about Red Skelton from around the web
Quick as a Cat, Coastal Carolina Coach Finds Internet Fame
NYTimes - over 6 years
Truth be told, the man with the thick-as-grits Southern accent looked a little crazy on a video that went viral last week. David Bennett, the football coach at Coastal Carolina, was seen at his weekly news conference, telling a story about a neighbor’s cat that had stolen into Bennett’s house through a broken screen door.
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 NYTimes article
Media Life: Closer look reveals Auburn's hidden gems - Auburn Journal
Google News - over 6 years
The shrine to comic Red Skelton that covers much of the interior not filled with shoes of The Footpath in Downtown Auburn. Some would say it's more like a museum. A real treasure, especially for fans of the comedian
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 Google News article
At 56, she was working, and homeless working to an apartment - Newton Kansan
Google News - over 6 years
“People think you are like Red Skelton's character Freddie the Freeloader — an alcoholic, a drug addict, someone who can't take care of themselves.” This is not the first time Jane has been homeless. She, her husband and three children were homeless
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 Google News article
Howard Keel Movie Schedule: KISMET, LOVELY TO LOOK AT, FLOODS OF FEAR - Alt Film Guide (blog)
Google News - over 6 years
Cast: Kathryn Grayson, Red Skelton, Howard Keel, Ann Miller, Gower Champion, Marge Champion, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kurt Kasznar, Marcel Dalio. C-102 mins. 2:30 PM SHOW BOAT (1951) Riverboat entertainers find love, laughs and hardships as they sail along "Old
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 Google News article
Who Is Cincy's Top Movie or TV Star? - Cincinnati.com (blog)
Google News - over 6 years
Or '60′s TV comedian Red Skelton? Maybe singing cowboy Roy Rogers, or “The Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling? And where do you rank Steven Spielberg, born here in 1946? He didn't do much before leaving town at age 2-1/2, but he's done OK since he hit
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Jeanne Arland Peterson: A jazz genie - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Google News - over 6 years
Performances with jazz stars George Benson, Sonny Stitt and Roy Eldridge, and entertainers Bob Hope, Perry Como and Red Skelton. Six albums in print (2009's "88 Grand" is her most recent, and it is grand). As she prepared for her 90th birthday concert
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 Google News article
Why We Still Love Lucy - Fox News
Google News - over 6 years
The 1950s, a decade dominated by the likes of Lucy, Milton Berle, Steve Allen, Red Skelton and so many other funny people, constrained performers from engaging in what was then called "blue humor." In other words, you had to really be funny and not
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 Google News article
'Friday Night Dinner' review: Delightful starter - San Francisco Chronicle
Google News - over 6 years
By contrast, American TV may be inane, but since the demise of Milton Berle and Red Skelton, it's rarely intentionally silly. Yank viewers get another chance at British humor with tonight's premiere of "Friday Night Dinner," on the BBC America cable
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The legacy of Bing Crosby lives on at Del Mar - Examiner.com
Google News - over 6 years
The connection between the track and Hollywood continued throughout the following decades, when racetrack appearances were common by show biz personalities like Mikey Rooney, Ava Gardner, Edward G. Robinson, Red Skelton, Jimmy Durante, Desi Arnaz and
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Craft: Ginger or Mary Ann? Both, please - Bloomington Pantagraph (blog)
Google News - over 6 years
And: Tom/Dick Smothers ("Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"), Hal Linden ("Barney Miller), Gabe Kaplan ("Welcome Back, Kotter"), George Burns ("Burns and Allen"), John Ritter ("Three's Company"), Red Skelton ("Red Skelton Show"), McLean Stevenson/Mike
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 Google News article
Red Skelton Museum Announcement - MyWabashValley
Google News - over 6 years
Tuesday the Red Skelton Museum Foundation announced a 100 thousand dollar donation from The First Vincennes Savings Bank. The donation will help the foundation fund the completion of the museum. The foundation has also hired a design firm to design the
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On This Day in History: July 18 'Good Night and God Bless' - Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Google News - over 6 years
Red Skelton was born Richard Bernard Skelton on July 18, 1913, in Vincennes, Indiana, the son of a former clown for the Hagenbeck and Wallace Circus. Skelton joined a traveling
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 Google News article
Sherwood Schwartz, 94, Creator of 'Gilligan,' Dies
NYTimes - over 6 years
Sherwood Schwartz, who created ''Gilligan's Island'' and ''The Brady Bunch,'' two of the most affectionately ridiculed and enduring television sitcoms of the 1960s and '70s, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 94. His death was confirmed by his daughter, Hope Juber. Mr. Schwartz weathered painfully dismissive reviews to see his shows prosper and
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 NYTimes article
'Gilligan's Island' and 'Brady Bunch' Creator Sherwood Schwartz Dies - Adweek
Google News - over 6 years
He went on to write for other radio shows, including “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” and won a 1961 Emmy as the head writer CBS television program “The Red Skelton Show.” As an escape from writing for “Red Skelton,” Schwartz said, ... - -
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Red Skelton
    LATE ADULTHOOD
  • 1997
    Age 83
    Skelton died on September 17, 1997, at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, at the age of 84, after what was described as "a long, undisclosed illness".
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  • 1994
    Age 80
    He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.
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  • 1993
    Age 79
    He continued performing live until 1993, when he celebrated his 80th birthday.
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  • 1989
    Age 75
    He was one of the International Clown Hall of Fame's first inductees in 1989.
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  • 1987
    Age 73
    Skelton received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 1987, and in 1988, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Television Hall of Fame.
  • 1986
    Age 72
    When he was presented with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Governor's Award in 1986, Skelton received a standing ovation. "I want to thank you for sitting down", he said when the ovation subsided. "I thought you were pulling a CBS and walking out on me."
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    In 1986, Skelton received an honorary degree from Ball State University.
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  • 1984
    Age 70
    He gave a Royal Command Performance for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in 1984, which was later shown in the U.S. on HBO.
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  • 1981
    Age 67
    In 1981, Skelton made several specials for HBO including Freddie the Freeloader's Christmas Dinner (1981) and the Funny Faces series of specials.
  • 1980
    Age 66
    In 1980, he was taken to court by 13 of his former writers over a story that his will called for the destruction of recordings of all his old television shows upon his death.
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  • 1977
    Age 63
    Skelton made plans in 1977 to sell the rights to his old television programs as part of a package which would bring him back to regular television appearances.
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  • 1976
    Age 62
    Any hopes he may have had to ease back into television through the talk show circuit came to an abrupt halt on May 10, 1976, when Georgia Skelton committed suicide by gunshot on the 18th anniversary of Richard Skelton's death.
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  • 1975
    Age 61
    While he disassociated himself from television soon after his show was cancelled, his bitterness had subsided enough for him to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on July 11, 1975; it was his first television appearance since he no longer had a television program.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1971
    Age 57
    There were personal as well as professional changes taking place in Skelton's life at this time. He divorced Georgia in 1971 and married Lothian Toland, daughter of cinematographer Gregg Toland, on October 7, 1973.
  • 1970
    Age 56
    Skelton moved to NBC in 1970 in a half-hour Monday night version of his former show.
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  • 1969
    Age 55
    In 1969, Skelton performed a self-written monologue about the Pledge of Allegiance.
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  • 1965
    Age 51
    In 1965, Skelton did another show in complete pantomime.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1962
    Age 48
    While a staple of his radio programs, he did not perform his "Junior" character on television until 1962, after extending the length of his program.
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    In the fall of 1962, CBS expanded his program to a full hour, retitling it The Red Skelton Hour.
    In 1962, the Skelton family moved to Palm Springs, and Skelton used the Bel Air home only on the two days a week when he was in Los Angeles for his television show taping.
  • 1961
    Age 47
    The death of Richard profoundly affected the family; by 1961 Richard's model trains had been moved to a storeroom in the Bel Air mansion, but Skelton refused to have them dismantled.
  • 1960
    Age 46
    In early 1960, Skelton purchased the old Charlie Chaplin Studios and updated it for videotape recording.
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  • 1958
    Age 44
    Calling themselves The Friends of Red Skelton, his friends in the television, film and music industries organized The Friends Of Red Skelton Variety Show, which they performed to replace The Red Skelton Show for that week; by May 27, 1958, Skelton had returned to his program.
    His illness and recovery kept him off the air for a full month; Skelton returned to his television show on January 28, 1958.
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  • 1957
    Age 43
    He suffered a life-threatening asthma attack on December 30, 1957, and was taken to St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, where his doctors said that "if there were ten steps to death, Red Skelton had taken nine of them by the time he had arrived".
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    He returned to his television show on January 15, 1957, with guest star Mickey Rooney helping to lift his spirits.
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  • 1955
    Age 41
    By 1955, Skelton was broadcasting some of his weekly programs in color, which was the case approximately 100 times between 1955 and 1960.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1953
    Age 39
    Beginning with the 1953–54 season, he switched to CBS, where he remained until 1970.
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    Declining ratings prompted sponsor Procter & Gamble to cancel his show in the spring of 1953, with Skelton announcing that any future television shows of his would be variety shows, where he would not have the almost constant burden of performing.
  • 1952
    Age 38
    NBC agreed to film his shows in the 1952–53 season at Eagle Lion Studios, next to the Sam Goldwyn Studio, on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood.
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    Skelton was delivering an intense performance live each week, and the strain showed in physical illness. In 1952, he was drinking heavily from the constant pain of a diaphragmatic hernia and marital problems; he thought about divorcing Georgia.
    In early 1952, Skelton had an idea for a television sketch about someone who had been drinking not being able to know which way is up.
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    His "Freddie the Freeloader" clown was introduced on the program in 1952, with Skelton copying his father's makeup for the character.
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  • 1951
    Age 37
    The MGM agreement with Skelton for television performances did not allow him to go on the air before September 30, 1951.
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    He signed a contract for television on NBC with Procter and Gamble as his sponsor on May 4, 1951, and said he would be performing the same characters on television as he had been doing on radio.
    Skelton was unable to work in television until the end of his 1951 MGM movie contract; a renegotiation to extend the pact provided permission after that point.
  • 1948
    Age 34
    Skelton changed sponsors in 1948; Brown & Williamson, owners of Raleigh cigarettes, withdrew due to program production costs.
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  • 1947
    Age 33
    On April 22, 1947, Skelton was censored by NBC two minutes into his radio show.
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    By 1947, Skelton's musical conductor was David Rose, who would go on to television with him; he had worked with Rose during his time in the army and wanted Rose to join him on the radio show when it went back on the air.
  • 1945
    Age 31
    His sponsor was eager to have him back on the air, and Skelton's program began anew on NBC on December 4, 1945.
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    He was released from his army duties in September 1945.
    He was on army furlough for throat discomfort when he married actress Georgia Maureen Davis in Beverly Hills, California, on March 9, 1945; the couple met on the MGM lot.
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  • 1944
    Age 30
    By 1944, Skelton was engaged to actress Muriel Morris, who was also known as Muriel Chase; the couple had obtained a marriage license and told the press they intended to marry within a few days.
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    His last Raleigh radio show was on June 6, 1944, the day before he was formally inducted as a private; he was not assigned to the entertainment corps at that time.
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    He was drafted into the army in early 1944; both MGM and his radio sponsor tried to obtain a deferment for the comedian, but to no avail.
    In 1944, Skelton starred opposite Esther Williams in George Sidney's musical comedy Bathing Beauty, playing a songwriter with romantic difficulties.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1943
    Age 29
    They were divorced in 1943, leaving the courtroom arm in arm.
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    After a talk with President Roosevelt in 1943, Skelton used his radio show to collect funds for a Douglas A-20 Havoc to be given to the Soviet Army to help fight World War II.
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    Skelton starred in a 1943 movie of the same name, but did not play "Junior" in the film.
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  • 1941
    Age 27
    Skelton went on the air with his own radio show, The Raleigh Cigarette Program, on October 7, 1941.
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    In 1941, Skelton began appearing in musical comedies, starring opposite Eleanor Powell, Ann Sothern and Robert Young in Norman Z. McLeod's Lady Be Good.
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    In 1941 he also provided comic relief in Harold S. Bucquet's Dr. Kildare medical dramas, Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day and The People vs. Dr. Kildare.
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  • 1940
    Age 26
    Skelton began appearing in numerous films for MGM. In 1940 he provided comic relief as a lieutenant in Frank Borzage's war drama Flight Command, opposite Robert Taylor, Ruth Hussey and Walter Pidgeon.
    Actor Mickey Rooney contacted Skelton, urging him to try for work in films after seeing him perform his "Doughnut Dunkers" act at President Roosevelt's 1940 birthday party.
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  • 1939
    Age 25
    He appeared in two short subjects for Vitaphone in 1939: Seeing Red and The Broadway Buckaroo.
  • 1938
    Age 24
    In 1938 he made his film debut for RKO Pictures in the supporting role of a camp counselor in Having Wonderful Time.
    Skelton made his film debut in 1938 alongside Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in Alfred Santell's Having Wonderful Time, and he went on to appear in numerous musical and comedy films throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, with starring roles in Ship Ahoy (1941), I Dood It (1943), Ziegfeld Follies (1946) and The Clown (1953).
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  • 1937
    Age 23
    In 1937, while he was entertaining at the Capitol Theater in Washington, D.C., President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited Skelton to perform at a White House luncheon.
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    The couple viewed the Loew's State engagement in 1937 as Skelton's big chance.
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  • 1934
    Age 20
    Skelton and Edna worked for a year in Camden, New Jersey, and were able to get an engagement at Montreal's Lido Club in 1934 through a friend who managed the chorus lines at New York's Roxy Theatre.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1931
    Age 17
    They married in 1931 in Kansas City, and Edna began writing his material.
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  • 1929
    Age 15
    Around 1929, while Skelton was still a teen, he joined "Doc" R.E. Lewis's traveling medicine show as an errand boy who sold bottles of medicine to the audience.
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    At the age of 15, Skelton did some early work on the burlesque circuit, and reportedly spent four months with the Heganbeck-Wallace Circus in 1929, when he was 16 years old.
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  • 1926
    Age 12
    Skelton discovered at an early age that he could make people laugh. Skelton dropped out of school around 1926 or 1927, when he was 13 or 14 years old, but he already had some experience performing in minstrel shows in Vincennes, and on a showboat, "The Cotton Blossom", that plied the Ohio and Missouri rivers.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1923
    Age 9
    According to later accounts, Skelton's early interest in becoming an entertainer stemmed from an incident that took place in Vincennes around 1923, when a stranger, supposedly the comedian Ed Wynn, approached Skelton, who was the newsboy selling papers outside a Vincennes theater.
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  • 1913
    Born
    Born on July 18, 1913, in Vincennes, Indiana, Richard Skelton was the fourth and youngest son of Ida Mae (née Fields) and Joseph Elmer Skelton.
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