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Red Skelton

Bernard Richard Red Skelton was an American comedian born in Vincennes, Indiana who started in vaudeville as a teen-ager, worked his way up to Broadway shows, secondary roles in MGM movies, radio performances and finally popularity in the early days of TV. His eponymous variety show ran alternately on the television networks CBS and NBC from 1951 through 1971. (See: The Red Skelton Show.)

He is best remembered for taking on the persona of circus clowns in traditional makeup -a role that may have come naturally to Skelton, since his father, who died shortly before his birth, had worked as a clown for the Hagenbeck & Wallace Circus. His best-known clown persona was Freddy the Freeloader, who had traditional tramp clown makeup. Another popular character was goofy Clem Kadiddlehopper.

Near the end of his life, Skelton said his daily routine included writing a short story a day and composing a piece of music a day (which he would then sell to providers of background music such as Muzak).

One of America's best loved comedians, Red Skelton is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Red Skelton Facts

Birth NameRichard Bernard Skelton
BirthdayJuly 18, 1913
BirthplaceVincennes, Indiana, USA
Date of deathSeptember 17, 1997 (age 84)
Awards1988 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Life Achievement Award
1978 Golden Globe Awards: Cecil B. DeMille Award

Selected Filmography

Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines
Legends of Country Comedy
Red Skelton Whistling Collection
Ocean's 11
Red Skelton Bloopers: Blunders & Ad-Libs
The Red Skelton Hour: 11 DVD collection of Red Skelton Movies and TV Shows by Time Life
Rudolph's Shiny New Year
Three Little Words
That's Dancing!
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