Mrs. Skelton Quits as Wife, Stays on as Red’s Agent
Comedian Says He’ll Keep Mouth Shut Now When He Hears of Her Divorce Move
Originally published in the Philadelphia Post-Gazette, October 30, 1942
HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 29 (UP) – That famous tag line — “… but we’re still the best of friends” — for years a part of announcements that movie marriages had hit the rocks, popped up again today.
And Red Skelton, the carrot-thatched comic, and Edna, his pretty wife and helper, apparently mean it.
She disclosed today that she was moving out of their home — giving up her job as his wife but keeping her job as his manager and gag writer.
“It had to be one or the other,” she said. “I feel it is more important to carry on for Red as his manager than try to make a success of both jobs and probably mess them both up.”
The rumor that all was not well between them got around before breakfast, and the eyes of early arrivals at the M-G-M studio, where Red is making a picture, popped out and she brought him to work.
“It’s news to me,” Red declared, as Edna drove away.
But the latter, when she reached home, confirmed it in a statement issued through the National Broadcasting Company — the network over which Red broadcasts a weekly show.
She said she had consulted an attorney and her suit would be filed quickly.
“It’s a friendly action,” she explained, “We’ll continue to work together. But being Red’s personal manager has cast me in the role of ‘heavy’ in all his dealings. The personal relationship as Red’s wife and the business relationship as his manager were both difficult and conflicting.”
Red, whose real name is Richard, is a Vincennes, Ind. boy. He declared:
“I’m going to keep my mouth shut this time. I’ll let her tell the story.”
The couple met when Red was appearing in a Kansas City theater where Edna was an usherette. One night, chatting backstage, she told him she didn’t like his material (that’s stage lingo for gags and patter.)
“If you think you can do better,” Red snapped, “why don’t you try?”
She did — both try and do better.
A few months later they were married. That was 11 years ago, and she’s been writing much of his material ever since.