Image of Red Skelton

Red Skelton

The son of a former circus clown turned grocer and a cleaning woman, Red Skelton was introduced to show business at the age of 7 by Ed Wynn, at a vaudeville show in Vincennes. At age 10, he left home to travel with a medicine show through the Midwest, and joined the vaudeville circuit at age 15. At age 17, he married Edna Marie Stilwell, an usher who became his vaudeville partner and later his chief writer and manager. He debuted on Broadway and radio in 1937 and on film in 1938. His ex-wife/manager negotiated a seven-year Hollywood contract for him in 1951, the same year The Red Skelton Hour (1951) premiered on NBC. For two decades, until 1971, his show consistently stayed in the top twenty, both on NBC and CBS. His numerous characters, including Clem Kaddiddlehopper, George Appleby, and the seagulls Gertrude and Heathcliffe delighted audiences for decades. First and foremost, he considered himself a clown, although not the greatest, and his paintings of clowns brought in a fortune after he left television. His home life was not completely happy--two divorces and a son Richard who died of leukemia at age 9--and he did not hang around with other comedians. He continued performing live until illness, and he was a longtime supporter of children's charities. Red Skelton died at age 84 of pneumonia in Rancho Mirage, California, on September 17, 1997. Red is interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale, California, in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Benediction.

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Jul 18, 1913 In Vincennes, Indiana, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Having Wonderful Time 1938-07-01
Latest Project:
Movie Inside the Dream Factory 1995-11-01
Known For
Poster of Red Skelton: A Royal Command Performance
Poster of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes
Poster of Ocean's Eleven
Poster of What's My Line?
Movie Inside the Dream Factory Self 1995-11-01
Movie That's Dancing! Unknown 1985-01-01
Movie Red Skelton: A Royal Command Performance Himself 1984-04-22
Movie Freddie the Freeloader's Christmas Dinner Freddie the Freeloader 1981-11-01
Movie That's Entertainment, Part II (archive footage) 1976-05-17
Movie Rudolph's Shiny New Year Father Time / Baby Bear 1976-12-10
Movie That's Entertainment! (archive footage) (uncredited) 1974-06-21
Movie Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes The Neanderthal Man 1965-06-16
Movie The Big Parade of Comedy Aubrey Filmore in 'A Southern Yankee' (archive footage) 1964-09-02
Movie The Man in the Funny Suit Self 1960-04-15
Movie Ocean's Eleven Gambler 1960-08-10
Series Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Unknown 1958-10-06
Movie Public Pigeon No. 1 Unknown 1957-02-18
Series The Steve Allen Show Unknown 1956-06-24
Series The Dinah Shore Chevy Show Unknown 1956-10-05
Movie Around the World in Eighty Days Drunk in Barbary Coast Saloon 1956-10-17
Movie The Great Diamond Robbery Ambrose C. Park 1954-01-29
Movie Susan Slept Here Oswald from North Dakota (uncredited) 1954-07-28
Series Climax! Unknown 1954-10-07
Series The Oscars Unknown 1953-03-18
Movie The Clown Dodo Delwyn 1953-01-16
Movie Half a Hero Ben Dobson 1953-05-11
Movie Lovely to Look At Al Marsh 1952-05-29
Series This Is Your Life Unknown 1952-10-01
Movie Excuse My Dust Joe Belden 1951-06-27
Series The Red Skelton Show Himself / Cauliflower McPugg / Deadeye 1951-10-21
Movie Texas Carnival Cornie Quinell 1951-10-05
Series What's My Line? Self - Mystery Guest 1950-02-02
Movie The Yellow Cab Man Augustus 'Red' Pirdy 1950-03-25
Movie Watch the Birdie Rusty Cammeron 1950-12-11
Movie Three Little Words Harry Ruby 1950-07-12
Movie Neptune's Daughter Jack Spratt 1949-06-10
Movie The Fuller Brush Man Red Jones 1948-06-01
Series Texaco Star Theater Clem Kadiddlehopper 1948-06-08
Movie A Southern Yankee Aubrey Filmore 1948-08-05
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20
Movie Merton of the Movies Merton Gill aka Clifford Armytage 1947-10-11
Movie The Show-Off J. Aubrey Piper 1946-12-01
Movie Ziegfeld Follies J. Newton Numbskull (segment When Television Comes) 1945-08-26
Movie Twenty Years After Unknown 1944-01-01
Movie Bathing Beauty Steve Elliott 1944-06-27
Movie Du Barry Was a Lady Louis Blore / King Louis XV 1943-08-13
Movie Thousands Cheer Red Skelton 1943-01-01
Movie I Dood It Joseph 'Joe' Rivington Renolds 1943-09-01
Movie Whistling in Brooklyn Wally 'The Fox' Benton 1943-12-01
Movie Ship Ahoy Merton K. Kibble 1942-04-16
Movie Maisie Gets Her Man Herbert P. 'Hap' Hixby 1942-06-01
Movie Whistling in Dixie Wally Benton 1942-12-31
Movie Panama Hattie Red 1942-09-30
Movie The People Vs. Dr. Kildare Vernon Briggs 1941-05-02
Movie Whistling in the Dark Wally Benton 1941-08-08
Movie Lady Be Good Joe 'Red' Willet 1941-09-18
Movie Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day Vernon Briggs 1941-08-22
Movie Flight Command Lieut. 'Mugger' Martin 1940-12-27
Movie Seeing Red Red / Doorman / Coatroom Attendant / Waiter / Emcee 1939-08-25
Movie Having Wonderful Time Itchy 1938-07-01