Red Skelton, one of America’s most popular comedians for over 30 years, died September 17 at Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs following a lengthy illness. He was 84.
At his peak in the 1950s and 1960s, Skelton’s comedy/variety show on CBS-TV attracted 25 million viewers weekly, putting him on par with the other comedic giants of TV including Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason and Milton Berle. His country bumpkin-like characters such as Freddy the Freeloader and Clem Kadiddlehopper were beloved by audiences. He brought to TV his large following from a popular radio show and several hit films.