Buttons in 1959
February 5, 1919
New York City, U.S.
|Died||July 13, 2006 87) (aged|
Century City, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor & Comedian|
(m. 1947;div. 1949)
(m. 1949;div. 1963)
(m. 1964;her death 2001)
|Children||2 (with Prats)|
Red Buttons (born Aaron Chwatt; February 5, 1919 – July 13, 2006) was an American actor and comedian. He won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his supporting role in the 1957 film Sayonara .
The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a supporting role while working within the film industry. The award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Supporting Actress winner. The Academy's official name for this award is Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.
The Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1944 for a performance in a motion picture released in the previous year.
Sayonara is a 1957 Technicolor American film starring Marlon Brando in Technirama. The picture tells the story of an American Air Force flier who was an ace fighter pilot during the Korean War (1950–1953).
Red Buttons was born Aaron Chwatton February 5, 1919, in Manhattan, to Jewish immigrants Sophie (née Baker) and Michael Chwatt. 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 large, shiny buttons on the bellhop uniforms inspired orchestra leader Charles "Dinty" Moore to call him "Red Buttons," the name under which he would later perform.
Manhattan, often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.
Jews or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation, originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.
A bellhop or hotel porter (international) is a hotel porter, who helps patrons with their luggage while checking in or out. Bellhops often wear a uniform, like certain other page boys or doormen. This occupation is also called bellman and bellboy in North America.
Later that same summer Buttons worked on the Borscht Belt;his straight man was Robert Alda. Buttons was working at the Irvington Hotel in South Fallsburg, New York, when the Master of Ceremonies became incapacitated, and he asked for the chance to replace him. 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.
Borscht Belt, or Jewish Alps, is a nickname for the summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains in parts of Sullivan, Orange, and Ulster counties in New York. Borscht, a soup associated with immigrants from eastern Europe, was a colloquialism for "Jewish". These resorts were a popular vacation spot for New York City Jews between the 1920s and the 1970s. Most Borscht Belt resorts hosted traveling Jewish comedians and musicians, and many who later became famous began their careers there.
A double act, also known as a comedy duo, is a comic pairing in which humor is derived from the uneven relationship between two partners, usually of the same gender, age, ethnic origin and profession but drastically different in terms of personality or behavior. Often one of the members of the duo — the straight man, feed, dead wood, or stooge — is portrayed as reasonable and serious, while the other one — the funny man, banana man or comic — is portrayed as funny, less educated or less intelligent, silly, or unorthodox. If the audience identifies primarily with one character, the other will often be referred to as a comic foil. The term "feed" comes from the way a straight man sets up jokes and then "feeds" them to his partner.
Robert Alda was an American theatrical and film actor, a singer, and a dancer. He was father of actors Alan and Antony Alda. Alda was featured in a number of Broadway productions before moving to Italy during the early 1960s. He appeared in many European films over the next two decades, occasionally returning to the U.S. for film appearances such as The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969).
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 classic 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.
Uta Thyra Hagen was an American actress and theatre practitioner. She originated the role of Martha in the 1962 Broadway premiere of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee. Because Hagen was on the Hollywood blacklist, in part because of her association with Paul Robeson, her film opportunities dwindled and she focused her career on New York theatre.
American burlesque is a genre of variety show. Derived from elements of Victorian burlesque, music hall and minstrel shows, burlesque shows in America became popular in the 1860s and evolved to feature ribald comedy and female striptease. By the early 20th century, burlesque in America was presented as a populist blend of satire, performance art, music hall, and adult entertainment, featuring striptease and broad comedy acts.
Drafted into the United States Army Air Forces, Buttons in 1943 appeared in the Army Air Forces' Broadway show Winged Victory , along with several future stars, including Mario Lanza, John Forsythe, Karl Malden and Lee J. Cobb. A year later he appeared in Darryl F. Zanuck's movie version of Winged Victory , directed by George Cukor. Buttons also entertained troops in the European Theater in the same Jeep Show unit as Mickey Rooney.
The United States Army Air Forces, informally known as the Air Force,or United States Army Air Force, was the aerial warfare service of the United States during and immediately after World War II (1939/41–1945), successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which in 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, and the Army Air Forces. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Army Chief of Staff.
Winged Victory is a 1943 play by Moss Hart, created and produced by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II as a morale booster and as a fundraiser for the Army Emergency Relief Fund. Hart adapted the play for a 1944 motion picture directed by George Cukor.
Mario Lanza was an American tenor of Italian ancestry, and an actor and Hollywood film star of the late 1940s and the 1950s.
After the war Buttons continued to do Broadway shows. He also performed at Broadway movie houses with big bands. In 1952, Buttons received his own variety series on television, The Red Buttons Show, which ran for three years on CBS. It was the #11 show in prime time in 1952.In 1953 he recorded and had a two-sided hit with Strange Things Are Happening/The Ho Ho Song, with both sides/songs essentially being the same.
A big band is a type of musical ensemble that usually consists of ten or more musicians with four sections: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. Big bands originated during the early 1910s and dominated jazz in the early 1940s when swing was most popular. The term "big band" is also used to describe a genre of music. One problem with this usage is that it overlooks the variety of music played by these bands.
CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.
His role in Sayonara was a dramatic departure from his previous work. In this film, co-starring with Marlon Brando, he played Joe Kelly, an American airman stationed in Kobe, Japan during the Korean War, who marries Katsumi, a Japanese woman (played by Miyoshi Umeki), but is barred from taking her back to the United States. His moving portrayal of Kelly's calm resolve not to abandon the relationship, and the touching reassurance of Katsumi, impressed audiences and critics alike. Buttons won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and Umeki won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film.
After his Oscar-winning role Buttons performed in numerous feature films, including the Africa adventure Hatari! with John Wayne, the adventure Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962) (where he received top billing), 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 the age-reversal comedy 18 Again! with George Burns.
In 1966 Buttons again starred in his own TV series, a spy spoof called The Double Life of Henry Phyfe , which ran for one season. Buttons also made memorable guest appearances on several TV programs including The Eleventh Hour , Little House on the Prairie , It's Garry Shandling's Show , Knots Landing and Roseanne . His last TV role was in ER .
He became a nationally recognisable comedian, and his "Never Got A Dinner" routine was a standard of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast for many years. He was number 71 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time.
Another of his catchphrases was "I did not come here to be made sport of," which has been taken up recently by radio talk show host Howie Carr.
Buttons received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television, his star being located at 1651 Vine Street.
Buttons married actress Roxanne Arlen in 1947, but the marriage soon ended in divorce. He married Helayne McNorton on December 8, 1949. They divorced in 1963. His last marriage was to Alicia Pratts, which lasted from January 27, 1964, until her death in March 2001. Buttons had two children, Amy Buttons and Adam Buttons. He was the advertising spokesman for Century Village, Florida, a retirement community.
Buttons was an early member of the Synagogue for the Performing Arts, and at the time Rabbi Jerome Cutler was the Rabbi.
Buttons died of complications from cardiovascular disease on July 13, 2006, at age 87 at his home in Century City, Los Angeles. He had been ill for a while and was with family members when he died. His ashes were given to his family after cremation.
|1944||Winged Victory||Whitey / Andrews Sister||as Cpl. Red Buttons|
|1946||13 Rue Madeleine||Second Jump Master||uncredited|
|1957||Sayonara||Airman Joe Kelly|| Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor |
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer
|1958||Imitation General||Cpl. Chan Derby|
|1959||The Big Circus||Randy Sherman|
|1961||One, Two, Three||MP sergeant||cameo; uncredited|
|1962||Five Weeks in a Balloon||Donald O'Shay|
|1962||The Longest Day||Private John Steele|
|1963||A Ticklish Affair||Uncle Cy|
|1964||Your Cheatin' Heart||Shorty Younger|
|1965||Up from the Beach||Pfc. Harry Devine|
|1965||Harlow (Paramount film starring Carroll Baker)||Arthur Landau||Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture|
|1969||The Moviemakers||Himself||short subject|
|1969||They Shoot Horses, Don't They?||Sailor||Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture|
|1971||Who Killed Mary What's 'Er Name?||Mickey|
|1972||The Poseidon Adventure||James Martin|
|1975||The New Original Wonder Woman (pilot)||Ashley Norman|
|1976||Gable and Lombard||Ivan Cooper|
|1977||Viva Knievel!||Ben Andrews|
|1977||Pete's Dragon||Hoagy||Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1978||The Users||Warren Ambrose||TV movie|
|1978||Movie Movie||Peanuts / Jinks Murphy|
|1979||Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July||Milton||voice|
|1980||When Time Ran Out||Francis Fendly|
|1980||The Dream Merchants||Bruce Benson||TV movie|
|1985||Reunion at Fairborough||Jiggs Quealy|
|1985||Alice in Wonderland||The White Rabbit|
|1990||The Ambulance||Elias Zacharai|
|1994||It Could Happen to You||Walter Zakuto|
|1999||The Story of Us||Arnie Jordan|
|2000||AMC Backstory - The Longest Day||Himself||documentary|
|2001||Odessa or Bust||The Old Man||short subject|
|2004||Goodnight, We Love You||documentary|
|2005||Sid Bernstein Presents...||Himself||documentary|
Harold Albertson professionally known as Jack Albertson, was an American actor, comedian, dancer and singer who also performed in vaudeville. Albertson is known for his role as John Cleary in The Subject Was Roses (1968), for which he received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor; Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971); Manny Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure (1972); and Ed Brown in the television sitcom Chico and the Man (1974–78). For his contributions to the television industry, Albertson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1977 at 6253 Hollywood Boulevard.
William Alexander "Bud" Abbott was an American actor, best known for his film comedy double act, as straight man to Lou Costello.
José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón, known as José Ferrer, was a Puerto Rican actor and theatre and film director. He was the first Puerto Rican-born actor, as well as the first Hispanic actor, to win an Academy Award.
Phil Silvers was an American entertainer and comedic actor, known as "The King of Chutzpah". He starred in The Phil Silvers Show, a 1950s sitcom set on a U.S. Army post in which he played Master Sergeant Ernest (Ernie) Bilko.
Irving Lahrheim, stage name Bert Lahr, was an American actor of stage and screen, vaudevillian and comedian. Lahr is best known for his role as the Cowardly Lion, as well as his counterpart Kansas farmworker "Zeke", in the MGM adaptation of The Wizard of Oz (1939). He was well known for his explosive humor, but also adapted well to dramatic roles and his work in burlesque, vaudeville, and on Broadway.
Miyoshi Umeki was a Japanese-American actress and standards singer. She was best known for her roles as Katsumi in the film Sayonara (1957), Mei Li in the Broadway musical and 1961 film Flower Drum Song, and Mrs. Livingston in the television series The Courtship of Eddie's Father. She was a shin Issei, or post-1945 immigrant from Japan.
A button is a small fastener which secures two pieces of fabric together.
Red is a color.
Aries Spears is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and voice artist from New York City. Spears was a regular on Fox's sketch comedy series MADtv, appearing in 198 episodes, making him the second longest-serving cast member on the show behind Michael McDonald. In 2011, he released a special called Aries Spears: Hollywood, Look I'm Smiling.
Charles Elmer "Rip" Taylor Jr. is an American actor and comedian. He is known for his exuberance and flamboyant personality, including his wild moustache, toupee and, his habit of showering himself with confetti.
The Night They Raided Minsky's is a 1968 musical comedy film directed by William Friedkin and produced by Norman Lear. Contrary to the film’s opening comments, this is a fictional account of the invention of the striptease at Minsky's Burlesque in 1925. The film is based on the novel by Rowland Barber, published in 1960.
Ann Corio was a prominent American burlesque ecdysiast and actress. Ann Corio's original surname was Cicoria. She changed her name to Corio for stage purposes and because some family members did not approve of her profession.
Rags Ragland was an American comedian and character actor.
Minsky's Burlesque refers to the brand of American burlesque presented by four sons of Louis and Ethel Minsky: Abraham 'Abe' Bennett Minsky (1880–1949), Michael William 'Billy' Minsky (1887–1932), Herbert Kay Minsky (1891-1959), and Morton Minsky (1902–1987). They started in 1912 and ended in 1937 in New York City. Although the shows were declared obscene and outlawed, they were rather tame by modern standards.
Margaret Hart Ferraro, better known as Margie Hart, was a New York City stripteaser, in American burlesque theatre.
Rabbi Jerome Cutler is an ordained rabbi and the director of the Creative Arts Temple in West Los Angeles, California.
Minsky's is a musical by Bob Martin (book), Charles Strouse (music), and Susan Birkenhead (lyrics), and is loosely based on the 1968 movie The Night They Raided Minsky's.
Eddie Green was an African American actor, film director, composer, and radio personality best known for his vocal work in the radio programs Amos 'n' Andy, and Duffy's Tavern.
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