Red SkeltonBernard Richard "Red" Skelton
- September 17
) 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 variety show ran alternately on the television networks CBS
from 1951 through 1971.
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".
One of America's best loved comedians, Red Skelton is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California.