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Ra   Ri  /  Ro - Rz

Radar O'Reilly - Gary Burghoff played the clairvoyant company clerk Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly on the military comedy M*A*S*H/CBS/1972-83. Stationed at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, 4077th Division during the Korean War, "Radar" earned the nickname because of his uncanny ability to anticipate things happening moments before they occurred. Captain Benjamin Hawkeye Pierce once said "I'm very fond of Radar. He's both the child and pet I never had." During the 1979 season, Radar went stateside to help his mother run their farm located in Ottumwa, Iowa. Hawkeye and Corporal Klinger once called Radar "Stinky" [a reference to a childhood friend of Hawkeye's] on the episode "Hawk's Nightmare." See also - BEARS: "Radar O'Reilly's Teddy Bear"

Ramar - Dr. Thomas Reynolds (Jon Hall), known to the natives of Nairobi, Africa as "Ramar" (meaning "White Witch Doctor"), battled deadly diseases, wild jungle animals and fierce African warrior tribes on the jungle adventure RAMAR OF THE JUNGLE/SYN/1952-54.

Rapid Robert - When comedy writer Robert Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) of the sitcom THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW/CBS/1961-66 played baseball in high school, he pitched such a FAST ball that it earned him the nickname Rapid Robert, the same nickname of baseball veteran Bob Feller (No. 19). See also - "Bones" and "Stringbean"

Rat Pack, The - The collective showbiz nickname of entertainers Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop as they hung out with the group's leader singer Frank Sinatra. Their story is profiled in the book "Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the last Great Showbiz Party" written by Shawn Levy (Doubleday, 1997). The origin of the nickname came about when actress Lauren Bacall saw her husband Humphrey Bogart standing with Frank Sinatra and commented they looked like a "Rat Pack." The HBO TV-Movie The Rat Pack (1998) starred Ray Liotta as Sinatra in the swinging Las Vegas days of the early 1960s. See also - "Ol' Blue Eyes"

Red - The nickname of Ernie Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto), a bartender and ex-Red Sox coach on the sitcom CHEERS/NBC/1982-93. When Ernie (a.k.a. "Coach") was pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox baseball team, he was given the nickname "Red" not because of his red colored hair but for the fact that he once "read" a book.

Red Buttons - When he was sixteen, Canadian born Aaron Chwatt, (a.k.a. "Red Buttons") answered an advertisement for bell boy & singer at Dinty Moore's Tavern in the Bronx. The customers at that establishment immediately began calling him "Red Buttons" because of his bellboy uniform (with 48 buttons) and his red-colored hair. Red received his early training in Vaudeville, Burlesque and the Catskill Mountain resorts. In 1952 he debuted on THE RED BUTTONS SHOW/CBS/NBC/1952-55 where he developed four notable comic characters including Rocky Buttons, a punch-drunk prizefighter; Muggsy Buttons, a juvenile delinquent; Kleeglefarven, a dumb, blundering German U-Boat Sailor; and the Kupke Kid, a smart-alecky little boy. In 1966, he starred in the spy spoof THE DOUBLE LIFE OF HENRY PHYFE/ABC/1966 where he played a mild-mannered accountant who was recruited to impersonate a dead look-alike spy. Red Buttons was a popular guest on DEAN MARTIN'S CELEBRITY ROAST/NBC/1974-79 where he performed his famous "Never had a dinner" routine. Example: "Adam in the Garden of Eden who said 'I got more ribs; you got more Broads? Cain, whose wife divorced him because he wasn't Able. St. Francis whose own father called him a sissy...Never got a dinner." Red Buttons also won an Oscar® for his supporting role of airman Joe Kelly in the film Sayonara (1957). At age seven, Red (who was really Aaron Chwatt, and whose nickname was "Irish" because of his red hair, blue eyes and a green sweater which he wore in his public school graduation) could be seen performing on street corners for pennies. The act at that time consisted of singing the popular songs of the day - his boyish alto voice was a natural for choirs, and Red sang in the celebrated Coopermans Choir for three years with the then world famous Cantor Joseph "Yussele" Rosenblatt. At age twelve, Red worked every amateur contest he could enter. The Depression was on thick and heavy, and a five dollar first prize was a bonanza. At age sixteen, while he was still attending Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, Red auditioned for and got the job as an entertaining bell hop at a tavern called Ryan's in City Island, New York. The red hair and the bell hop's uniform with all those buttons inspired Dinty Moore, the world renowned orchestra leader, to dub our hero Red Buttons - a perfect name for the times - there being very few performers with names like Aaron Chwatt. That summer, Red worked his first job in the Catskills (that great training ground that gave us, among others, Danny Kaye, Robert Merrill, Moss Hart, Jerry Lewis, etc.,) at the Beerkill Lodge for one dollar fifty per week plus room and board. His straight man was Robert Alda whose wife was pregnant with Alan. In 1939, Red went to work for Minsky, the youngest burlesque comedian in the business. He billed himself as the "Only Burlesque Comedian With All His Own Teeth". In 1941, Jose Ferrer plucked Red out of burlesque for his first Broadway show, "The Admiral Had A Wife". The show was supposed to open on December 8, 1941, but it never did. The show was a farce comedy about Pearl Harbor - great timing! In 1942, Red did "Vicki" on Broadway with Jose Ferrer and Uta Hagen. Also, in 1942, Red appeared in "Wine, Woman and Song" for Minsky. This was the last burlesque show in New York City since the La Guardia administration determined to close it. Red was on stage when the place was raided. In 1943, Buttons, now in the Army Air Corp., was chosen for a role in Moss Hart's, "Winged Victory". First he did the Broadway show, and then the motion picture for Darryl Zanuck with George Cukor directing. When "Winged Victory" disbanded, Red joined Mickey Rooney's outfit in France, and together with Mickey, entertained the troops all through the European Theater of Operations during World War II. Red had the honor to perform at the Potsdam Conference and was among the first troops to enter Berlin. After the service, Red did two more Broadway shows - George Abbott's "Barefoot Boy with Cheek" with Nancy Walker, and Michael Kidd's "Hold It".

Red Skelton - Born Richard "Red" Skelton in Vincennes, Indiana on July 18, 1913, Red got his nickname from his three older brothers who dubbed him "Red" because he was the only redhead in the family. According to Red Skelton (as told on THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON), once his school teacher asked him middle name. He responded, "Red." Not believing him, she told him to go home and ask his parents what his real middle name was. When he returned to school he told his teacher a second time that his middle name was "Red" (which it really was) but still she didn't believe him. Soon after, he saw an advertisement for Bernard Clothier Company and told his teacher that his middle name was "Bernard" and she finally left him alone. Years later, J. Edgar Hoover called him Bernard during a conversation. Much to Red's surprise, that name had become part of his official dossier held in the FBI files. Red Skelton began his show business career at the age of 10 when he joined a traveling medicine show. Later he worked a showboat, minstrel shows, vaudeville, burlesque, the circus, radio (beginning 1936) and finally television where he starred on the long running comedy variety program THE RED SKELTON SHOW/NBC/CBS/1951-71. He ended each program with his classic closing "Good night, and may God bless." Red Skelton was inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame in 1993. He died in 1997. See also - "The Marcel Marceau of Television"

Redd Foxx - Black comedian John Elroy Sanford changed his name to "Redd" while he was working as a bus boy between acts at the Apollo Theater in the 1950s. Both, he and a friend, Malcolm Little had light complexions, thin lips and red hair. (In the black society, light-skinned men were often called "Red"). So Malcolm Little became "Detroit Red" and Sanford became "Chicago Red." He soon changed his stage name from Sanford to "Redd" adding a second "D" and "Foxx" after the famous baseball player, Jimmy Foxx. Detroit Red later became Malcolm X, the black nationalist who was assassinated in 1965. Redd Foxx's television credits included SANFORD & SON/NBC/1972-77; REDD FOXX/ABC/1977-78; SANFORD/NBC/1980-81; and THE REDD FOXX SHOW/ABC/1986. In the fall of 1991, Redd Foxx starred on the NBC sitcom THE ROYAL FAMILY about a retired postal carrier living in Atlanta. While shooting the eighth episode, he suffered a heart attack and collapsed. He died on October 11, 1991. TRIVIA NOTE: The SANFORD & SON series was based on the British sitcom STEPTOE & SON/BBC/1964-74. The Fred Sanford character name is a combination of "Fred" in honor of Redd Foxx's deceased brother; and Sanford after Redd's real last name. Foxx's TV son Lamont (played by Demond Wilson) was named after one of Redd's old friends from St. Louis.

Reenie - Irene Ryan who played Daisy Moses (a.k.a. "Granny Clampett") on the sitcom THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES/CBS/1962-71 was affectionately called Reenie by her close friends.

Remington Steele - On the detective drama REMINGTON STEELE/NBC/1982-87, Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) opened a detective agency, but it was not very successful. It seemed her potential clients wanted a macho male detective to do their work. To battle such prejudice, she invented a fictitious male superior named "Remington Steele," deriving his name from a typewriter and a football team. Business immediately picked up but there was one catch to her little deception...the clients always wanted to meet the mysterious Mr. Steele. Enter an equally mysterious conman (Pierce Brosnan) who assumed the role of Remington Steele and against her better judgment, Laura let him stay to become an unofficial part of her agency. Laura married Mr. Steele (without much protest) in 1986 to help him out of a jam. The authorities were going to deport him. The mysterious Mr. Steele had a variety of passports which included the following identities: Michael O'Leary, Richard Blair, Kevin Landers and Douglas Quintain. In 1987 it was revealed that Remington Steele was the son of Daniel Chalmers (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), a stylish confidence man who had recruited "Harry" (what Chalmers call his son) for a number of questionable schemes over a twenty year period. Harry was born while his father was in prison. Chalmers thought it wise to keep his identity a secret so he posed as a conman/friend to be near his son. Chalmers died soon after reconciling with his son. Remington Steele was a fan of movie star Humphrey Bogart and assumed the names of Bogart film characters when working a case (Ben Pearson from South Africa was his first assumed name)

Rerun - Freddie "Rerun" Stubbs (Fred Berry), the plump, ever hungry, black teenager on the sitcom WHAT'S HAPPENING!!/ABC/1976-79 and WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW!!/SYN/1985-88 earned his nickname "Rerun" because he was always being sent to summer school to relearn what he should have learned the semester before. See also - "Penguin"

Riddler, The - The Riddler (Frank Gorshin and later John Astin) was one of many nefarious criminal no-goods to appear on the fantasy adventure BATMAN/ABC/1966-68. Known also as Edward E. Nigma, the Riddler got his nickname from his habit of purposely leaving clues (written in riddle form) at the scene of a crime (or upcoming crime) to be discovered by Gotham City crime fighters Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward). A typical clue "Riddle me this Batman: What do an orange and a bell have in common?" TRIVIA NOTE: The Riddler's maniacal laugh was inspired by the 1947 movie Kiss of Death in which actor Richard Widmark played the demented criminal, Tommy Udo who let loose mad cackling laughter when he pushed an old lady in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs. Frank Gorshin used the intensity of that performance to model his interpretation of Riddler character. In the 1990s update James Carrey played The Riddler in the motion picture Batman Forever (1995).

Riders in the Sky  See - MUSIC - VOCAL GROUPS 

Rifleman, The - The nickname of rancher Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) on the western adventure THE RIFLEMAN/ABC/1958-63. Lucas lived outside the town of North Fork, New Mexico in the late 1880s with his young son Mark (Johnny Crawford). Before arriving to his Southwest homestead, he was known as the "Rifleman" in the Nations territory. On the sitcom OUT OF THIS WORLD/SYN/1987-91 Doug McClure played Cowboy Kyle, a western movie/TV character who wore fancy shirts with ruffles. Off-the-set, Kyle was referred to as The Ruffleman.

Righteous Apples, The - Group of five Sherwin High School musicians in Boston who decided to seek out and help others less fortunate than themselves on the PBS series THE RIGHTEOUS APPLES/PBS/1980. Roster of members included Charles "Big Neck" McMorris (Mykel T. Williamson); Samuel "D.C." Rosenkrantz (Joey Camen); Glorette Carson (Kutee); Sandy Burns (Elizabeth Daily) and J.T. (Bob Harcum).

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