You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Comic Bill Skiles dies at 79

Part of Skiles and Henderson comedy team

Bill Skiles, one half of the comedy team of Skiles and Henderson, died Monday, May 16, of kidney cancer in St. Cloud, Fla. He was 79.

Skiles and Henderson were together for more than 50 years, performing their first shows at Disneyland in 1958. Skiles was the clown and Henderson the straight man.

The pair met in 1953, after Skiles’ tour of duty in the Air Force. Skiles was part of vocal quartet the Jolly Rogers for a year, performing in Las Vegas.

Their act at Disneyland included zany homemade musical instruments.

In the early ’60s the pair joined a folk ensemble, the New Christy Minstrels; a portion of each show was devoted to their comedy, but they eventually exited the group. They also saw some of their first TV exposure on shows including “The Red Skelton Show” and “Bell Telephone Hour.”

They recurred on “Dean Martin’s Golddiggers” in 1968, appeared on “Playboy After Dark” in 1969 and appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The David Frost Show” in 1970. Also in 1970, they toured with Rowan and Martin and Lily Tomlin.

Soon Skiles and Henderson became the opening act for a number of performers in Las Vegas, including Andy Williams, Loretta Lynn and Roger Miller.

In 1972 the pair began a five-year gig touring with the Carpenters. They appeared on two episodes of “The Tonight Show” during the mid-’70s and later guested on “The Hollywood Squares.”

By the mid-’90s they were doing stints in Branson, Mo., and Skiles and Henderson did their last tour in March 2010.

Skiles is survived by his wife, Arlene, a former singer, and four children and several grandchildren.

More TV

  • Netflix Producing Second Turkish Original The

    Netflix Boards Second Turkish Original, 'The Gift,' Starring Beren Saat

    Netflix has announced its second Turkish original, supernatural drama “The Gift,” toplining local star Beren Saat, who is best-known for playing the lead in female empowerment drama “Fatmagul,” which was a global hit. Shooting has started in Istanbul, with British producer Alex Sutherland (“Argo”) shepherding the eight-episode show, produced by Turkey’s OG Medya for Netflix. [...]

  • Daily Show Viacom

    DirecTV, Viacom Avert Blackout After Marathon Negotiation

    DirecTV and Viacom have agreed on a carriage renewal pact covering a raft of Viacom’s cable channels after a marathon negotiation over the weekend. In a joint statement early Monday, the companies said: “We are pleased to announce a renewed Viacom-AT&T contract that includes continued carriage of Viacom services across multiple AT&T platforms and products. [...]

  • Osmosis

    Netflix Feeds Fantasy-Hungry YAs in France

    LILLE, France —  The series the audience was about to see on Sunday night at Lille’s central UGC Cine-Cité multiplex wasn’t even playing in Series Mania’s main International Competition. But in many ways, Netflix’s” “Osmosis” was certainly among the most-anticipated of shows at this year’s festival. The excitement before the screening was palpable, and pointed [...]

  • Series Mania: Q & A with

    Series Mania: ‘Hierro’ as ‘Southern Noir’ and an Industry Groundbreaker

    LILLE, France —  Banijay Rights-sold “Hierro” begins with sea, land, air and fire: Shots of the stunning volcanic isle of El Hierro, the most westerly point of Spain’s Canary Islands, with its black basalt rock, brown iron-rich gravel, white waves pummeling the coast, trees trunks twisted by wind and lava, a juniper bent double by [...]

  • Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy

    Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy for Endemol Shine (EXCLUSIVE)

    Acclaimed Indian director Shekhar Kapur is to direct a TV series for Endemol Shine based on historical novels by Amitav Ghosh, known as the “Ibis Trilogy.” The deal was announced at Series Mania in Lille. The books “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire,” are set in mid-19th century Asia. They interweave [...]

  • ‘Lambs Of God’ To World Premiere

    Lingo Pictures, Endemol Shine’s ‘Lambs of God’ Set for Series Mania World Premiere

    LILLE, France — Lingo Pictures Productions and Endemol Shine’s new Australian limited series “Lambs of God,” based on the Australian novel of the same name by Marele Day, world premieres on Wednesday, March 27 in the main International Competition at this year’s Series Mania festival. The series follows three devout nuns, the last sisters of [...]

  • Bruno DEBRANDT (Florent) et Julie GAYET

    Federation Acquires Intl. Sales Rights on Series Mania French Competition Player ‘Torn’

    LILLE, France — Leading French independent production-finance-distribution sales company Federation Entertainment has secured international sales rights on upcoming French psychological thriller “Torn.” The series was created and written by director Lionel Bailliu (“Innocente”)and Yann Le Gal (“Léo Mattéï, Brigade des Mineurs”) and world premieres in the official French competition on March 25 at France’s Series [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content