"R" is for Red Skelton, the artist
On July 18, 1913, America's beloved clown, "Freddie the Freeloader", was born. He was named Richard "Red" Skelton. Red's father was a Circus clown who died shortly before his son's birth. It soon became evident that the clown gene was passed onto Red as he began working with the circus, but "Freddie the Freeloader" didn't made his appearance in 1951.
When Red was 10 years old, he was introduced into show business by Ed Wynn. And, by the time he was 15, he was working full time in burlesque, showboats, minstrel shows and the circus. Although Red Skelton is most noted for his success as a comedian and actor, he was a man of many talents including an accomplished artist. It was his love of clowns that actually motivated him to start painting. When asked why he became an artist, Red related a story that reflects his wit and humor.
"I walked into this gallery and was looking at a painting of a clown when the salesman came up to me. I asked him how much the painting was and he said, five thousand wouldn't touch it. I was shocked and immediately told him I was one of them and left."
As the story goes, Red Skelton went out and bought a set of paints, and began painting. A Red Skelton original could sell for as much as $80,000 prior to his death in 1997, and may bring more today. Red Skelton clown paintings are coveted by collectors around the world. His works are a sound investment in art, as well as a recognized collector's delight, revealing the man who painted them. His art work has proven its value with other contemporary artists and their worth has no limit. They are intensely moving, winning him the Footprints in the Sands of Time award... one of the highest honors an artist can receive.
Red was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame in 1989 and was presented the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Governors award in 1986. He was also a Free Mason, a Shriner, a member of both the Scottish and York Rite, and a member of the LA Shriners. He composed music and wrote children's books in addition to breeding quarter horses on his ranch outside Palm Springs. In the early 1960's, Red was the first CBS host to tape weekly programs in color.
Red's famous sign off at the end of his weekly television show was "Good Night and God Bless".
On September 17, 1974, at the age of 84, Red and Freddie passed away. Their body lies in rest at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, CA.
I am linking up with Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday. Please grab her button on my side bar and head over to class to read all the other student's "R" words.
Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit. We love having company.