Richard Red Skelton (July 18, 1913 – September 17, 1997) was an American entertainer best known for his national radio and television shows between 1937 and 1971, especially as host of the television program The Red Skelton Show. He has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in radio and television, and also appeared in burlesque, vaudeville, films, nightclubs, and casinos, all while he pursued an entirely separate career as an artist.
Skelton began developing his comedic and pantomime skills from the age of 10, when he became part of a traveling medicine show
. He then spent time on a showboat
, worked the burlesque
circuit, and then entered into vaudeville in 1934. The "Doughnut Dunkers" pantomime
sketch, which he wrote together with his wife, launched a career for him in vaudeville, radio, and films. His radio career began in 1937 with a guest appearance on The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour
, which led to his becoming the host of Avalon Time
in 1938. He became the host of The Raleigh Cigarette Program
in 1941, on which many of his comedy characters were created, and he had a regularly scheduled radio program until 1957. Skelton made his film debut in 1938 alongside Ginger Rogers
and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
in Alfred Santell
's Having Wonderful Time
, and would appear in numerous musical and comedy films throughout the 1940s and 1950s, with starring roles in 19 films, including Ship Ahoy
(1941), I Dood It
(1943), Ziegfeld Follies
(1946), and The Clown
(1953). (Full article...