Image of Red Buttons

Red Buttons

1919-02-05 New York City, New York, USA

Image of Red Buttons


Although Red Buttons is best known as a stand-up comic, he is also a successful songwriter, an Academy Award-winning actor (and has been nominated for two Golden Globe awards) and an accomplished singer. Born Aaron Chwatt on February 5, 1919 (Aquarius) in New York City's Lower East Side, stood at a height of 5' 6" (1.68 m). Buttons (who got his name from a uniform he wore while working as a singing bellhop), also known as Cpl. Red Buttons, started his show-business career singing on street corners as a child. At 16 he got a job as part of a comedy act playing the famed Catskills resort area in upstate New York (his partner was future actor Robert Alda). Buttons worked the burlesque circuit as a comic and even landed a role in a Broadway play, "Vicki", in 1942. He soon joined the U.S. Marine Corps, and in 1943 was picked for a role in Moss Hart's service play "Winged Victory" on Broadway, and soon afterwards journeyed to Hollywood to make the film version. After his discharge from the service he returned to Broadway, both in plays and as a comic with several big-band orchestras. He was successful enough that he got his own TV series, The Red Buttons Show (1952), on CBS. It lasted three years and won Buttons an Emmy for Best Comedian. He worked steadily for the next several years, and in 1957 got his big film break in the drama Sayonara (1957) with Marlon Brando, in which he played an American soldier stationed in Japan who struggled against the societal and racist pressures of both American and Japanese cultures because of his love for a Japanese woman. His performance garnered him an Academy Award, and more film roles followed. He played a paratrooper in The Longest Day (1962), was nominated for a Golden Globe for Harlow (1965) and again for They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969). He had a part in the TV series The Double Life of Henry Phyfe (1966) and has done pretty much every kind of TV show there is, from variety to comedy to soap operas. He gained further renown in the 1970s for his appearances on the "Dean Martin Celebrity Roast" where he performed his "Never Got a Dinner" act to great acclaim. He has played Las Vegas for years, has a star on Hollywood Boulevard (corner of Hollywood and Vine) and has appeared in numerous telethons and charitable events, for which he has been honored by such organizations as the Friars Club and the City of Hope Hospital. He died July 13, 2006 at the age of 87 in Century City, California, USA from vascular disease.


Goodnight, We Love You Himself 2004-01-01
The Story of Us Arnie Jordan 1999-10-13
Darryl F. Zanuck: 20th Century Filmmaker Himself - Actor / Friend 1995-09-03
It Could Happen to You Walter Zakuto 1994-07-29
The Ambulance Elias Zacharai 1990-03-22
18 Again! Charlie 1988-04-08
Reunion at Fairborough Jiggs Quealy 1985-05-12
Side Show 1981-06-04
Leave 'em Laughing Roland 1981-04-29
When Time Ran Out... Francis Fendly 1980-03-28
Power Solly Weiss 1980-01-14
Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July Milton 1979-07-01
C.H.O.M.P.S. Bracken 1979-12-21
Movie Movie Peanuts / Jinks Murphy 1978-11-01
The Users Warren Ambrose 1978-10-01
Viva Knievel! Ben Andrews 1977-06-10
Pete's Dragon Hoagy 1977-11-03
Telethon Marty Rand 1977-11-06
Joys 1976-03-05
Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style 1976-01-25
Gable and Lombard Ivan Cooper 1976-02-11
The Poseidon Adventure James Martin 1972-12-13
Who Killed Mary Whats'ername? Mickey Isadore 1971-12-11
George M! Sam H. Harris 1970-09-12
Breakout Pipes 1970-08-12
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Sailor 1969-12-10
Stagecoach Peacock 1966-04-21
Harlow Arthur Landauer 1965-06-23
Up from the Beach PFC Harry Devine 1965-05-25
Your Cheatin' Heart Shorty Younger 1964-11-04
A Ticklish Affair Flight Officer Simon 'Uncle Cy' Shelley 1963-08-18
Five Weeks in a Balloon Donald O'Shay 1962-01-01
Hatari! Pockets 1962-06-19
Gay Purr-ee Robespierre (voice) 1962-10-24
The Longest Day Pvt. John Steele 1962-09-25
One, Two, Three MP Sergeant (uncredited) 1961-12-15
The Big Circus Randy Sherman 1959-07-05
Imitation General Cpl. Chan Derby 1958-08-20
Sayonara Joe Kelly 1957-12-25
Footlight Varieties Himself 1951-01-01
Winged Victory Whitey / Andrews Sister (as Cpl. Red Buttons) 1944-12-22