- (1891-1934)Born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Joseph Harold Skelley developed his comedy skills in the circus before making his legitimate theatre debut in Chicago in the musical The Time, the Place and the Girl (1908), after which he joined Lew Dockstader's minstrel show. Although most of his Broadway appearances were in musicals, he scored a major success in the George Mahker Watters and Arthur Hopkins play Burlesque (1927) in the role of Skid, a dissolute comedian. Skelly appeared in 10 early sound motion pictures, including an adaptation of Burlesque retitled The Dance of Life (1929). His post-Burlesque stage appearances, Melody (1933), The Ghost Writer (1933), Queer People (1934), and Come What May (1934), were all failures. He was killed when his car was struck by a train in Connecticut.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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