Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Red Buttons, Irving Pichel, Alan Marshal

Who died on this date:

On July 13, 2006 actor, Red Buttons died. He was born Aaron Chwatt on February 5, 1919 in New York City. At sixteen years old, Chwatt got a job as an entertaining bellhop at Ryan's Tavern in City Island, Bronx. The combination of his red hair and the shiny buttoned bellhop uniform inspired orchestra leader Charles "Dinty" Moore to call him Red Buttons, the name under which he would later perform. In 1939, Buttons started working for Minsky's Burlesque; in 1941, José Ferrer chose Buttons to appear in a Broadway show The Admiral Had a Wife. The show was a farce set in Pearl Harbor, and it was due to open on December 8, 1941. It never did, as it was deemed inappropriate after the Japanese attack. In later years, Buttons would joke that the Japanese only attacked Pearl Harbor to keep him off Broadway. In September 1942, Buttons made his Broadway debut in Vickie with Ferrer and Uta Hagen. Later that year, he appeared in the Minsky's show Wine, Women and Song; this was the last Burlesque show in New York City history, as the Mayor La Guardia administration closed it down. Buttons was on stage when the show was raided.

After World War II, Buttons continued to do Broadway shows. He also performed at Broadway movie houses with the Big Bands. In 1952, Buttons received his own variety series on television - The Red Buttons Show ran for three years, and achieved high levels of success. In 1953, he recorded and had a hit with the song "Strange Things Are Happening." His role in Sayonara (1957) was a dramatic departure from his previous work and he won a best Supporting Actor Academy Award for this role. After his Oscar-winning role, Buttons performed in numerous feature films, including the Africa adventure Hatari! with John Wayne, the war epic The Longest Day, the biopic Harlow, the disaster film The Poseidon Adventure, the dance-marathon drama They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, the family comedy Pete's Dragon, the disaster film When Time Ran Out with Paul Newman and 18 Again! with George Burns. He became a nationally recognizable comedian, and his "Never Got A Dinner" routine was a standard of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts for many years. Red Buttons died of complications from high blood pressure on July 13, 2006 at his home in the Century City area of Los Angeles. His ashes were given to family and final disposition is unknown.

On July 13, 1954 actor, Irving Pichel died. He was born on June 24, 1891 and among his most notable screen roles were the servant Sandor in Dracula's Daughter, and Fagin in the 1933 adaptation of Oliver Twist. He directed several films, including The Miracle of the Bells, Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid, and Destination Moon. His voice was heard as narrator in How Green Was My Valley, and as the voice of Jesus in the film The Great Commandment.

By the mid 1940s, Pichel played small parts in several of the films that he directed, performed on radio, and was the narrator of John Ford's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon in 1949. His last films as a director were sectarian church-basement favorites Martin Luther in 1953, and Day of Triumph in 1954. In 1947, Pichel was one of 19 members of the Hollywood community who were subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the United States' second Red Scare. This group became known as the "Hollywood Nineteen" and the "Unfriendly Nineteen.” While Pichel was ultimately not called to testify, he was blacklisted, although he got around the blacklist by leaving the United States. He died on July 13, 1954 and is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.

On July 13, 1961 actor, Alan Marshal died. He was born on January 29, 1909 in Australia. His film credits include The Garden of Allah (1936) with Marlene Dietrich, Conquest (1937) with Greta Garbo, Night Must Fall (1937), Dramatic School (1938), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939), Irene (1940), The Howards of Virginia (1940), Lydia (1941), Tom, Dick and Harry (1941) with Ginger Rogers, The White Cliffs of Dover (1944) with Irene Dunne, and House on Haunted Hill (1959). He died on July 13, 1961 from a heart attack while appearing in Chicago with Mae West in a production of her play Sextette. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California., author of "Fade to Black: Graveside Memories of Hollywood Greats, 1927-1950"

No comments:

Post a Comment