People we love: Red Skelton

Richard Bernard “Red” Skelton, July 18, 1913 – September 17, 1997

Born on this day in 1913.

Red Skelton was a national radio and television comedian who began his work as a circus clown and continued to vaudeville, Broadway, films, radio and television.

Because his father died, “Red” went to work selling newspaper at the age of seven. When he was ten he auditioned to be part of a medicine show where he accidentally fell from the stage, breaking the bottles. The ensuing laughter taught him that he could learn a living making people laugh.

He was signed to a contract with NBC in 1951. He continued until 1971 when CBS cancelled such variety shows as Skelton, Jackie Gleason and Ed Sullivan. Skelton always closed his show with “Good Night, and God Bless.”

Skelton won three Emmys and in 1989 was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

Red Skelton died from pneumonia at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California on September 17, 1997. He was 84.

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