Rags Ragland was a boxer, a burlesque comedian, and a Broadway actor before returning to Hollywood to reprise his stage role as the boisterous sailor in Panama Hattie (1942), in which Ann Sothern played the component that Ethel Merman had portrayed on Broadway.
Ragland, who was typecast as a good-natured oaf with a flair for breaking the British language, gained Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as his sole studio and starred in a few dozen of their lighter films alongside such MGM stars as Crimson Skelton, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, and Gene Kelly.
|Popular As||John Lee Morgan Beauregard Ragland|
|Age||41 years old|
|Born||23 August 1905|
|Birthplace||Louisville, Kentucky, USA|
|Date of death||20 August 1946|
|Died Place||Los Angeles, California, USA|
Rags Ragland’s Family and Career
Rags Ragland, also known as Rags Ragland, was a well-known American actor (1905-1946). Rags Ragland began his career as an actor (1905-1946) after being born on August 23, 1905, in the United States of America.
He was a well-known actor in his generation (1905-1946).
Ragland established his name in burlesque. He immediately gained a reputation for crazy ad-libs, unpredictably interfering with other performers’ acts and a “strong off-stage libido.” At Minsky’s, the premier burlesque house, he eventually rose to the position of “top banana.” Georgia Sothern, a Minsky striptease star, remembers him affectionately in her 1971 memoir, describing him as a close friend and the funniest comedian the Minskys had ever produced.
Ragland was acknowledged as “my favorite comic” by his longtime performing partner Phil Silvers in his autobiography. Ragland moved to Broadway theatre and films once burlesque in their classic form faded. He was frequently cast as nice oafs who had a penchant for breaking the English language. Beginning with 1942’s Panama Hattie, he became a contract player for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), reprising a Broadway role. Ragland starred in almost a dozen MGM light comedies and musicals. He rose to prominence as Red Skelton’s sidekick in the “Whistling” movies (Whistling in the Dark, Whistling in Dixie, and Whistling in Brooklyn). In the play The Hoodlum Saint, he made his final film appearance (1946).
Cause of Death
Ragland was supposed to restart his New York nightclub act with pal Phil Silvers at the Copacabana after returning from an alcoholic binge with Orson Welles in Mexico in 1946.
He was sent to the hospital after experiencing abdominal pain. Ragland’s liver and kidneys had been ravaged by years of alcohol consumption, according to experts.
He died of uremia three days before his 41st birthday, after going into a coma. Sinatra and Silvers were present at his bedside.
Sinatra sang at Ragland’s funeral, while Silvers delivered the eulogy.
Sinatra unexpectedly showed up at the Copacabana debut, leaving the filming of his film It Happened in Brooklyn, flying to New York, and taking Ragland’s place alongside Silvers (Silvers had decided to continue because he had signed a contract, stating “the show must go on”). Sinatra and Silvers reprised their acts from their USO tours.
The show was a huge hit. “May I take a bow for Rags,” Silvers said, crying. The audience fell silent as they wept in honor of Ragland.