Charles Cirillo, veteran vaudeville, film and TV entertainer whose career spanned seven decades, died Dec. 4 at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills. He was 91.
A native of Springfield, Mass., Cirillo made his show business debut in 1926 in a Charleston dance contest where he tap-danced in wooden clogs.
Shortly after that, he and his three brothers began a singing, dancing and comedy vaudeville act that toured the United States on the Orpheum circuit, often playing on the same bill as Eddie Foy, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Bob Hope, Milton Berle and Burns and Allen.
As the heyday of vaudeville ebbed, Cirillo relocated to Hollywood, where he accumulated acting credits including roles in “The Paleface,” “Sorrowful Jones,” “The Wild One,” “Guys and Dolls,” “The Geisha Boy,” “The Great Escape,” “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Sting.”
He also essayed roles on numerous television shows such as “I Love Lucy,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Highway to Heaven” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
Cirillo also served as Charles Bronson’s stand-in for a number of years and appeared in bits in many of Bronson’s films.
Cirillo is survived by his wife of 52 years, Clara, two sons, a daughter and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.