Stars of Vaudeville #217: Rags Ragland


Originally posted in 2010. 

Rags Ragland (born John Lee Morgan Beauregard Ragland on this day in 1905) was a Minsky’s burlesque comedian who was often a foil to Phil Silvers. A former boxer and truck driver, he often played big, dumb galoots. In the early 40s he was a familiar face in MGM comedies, but it all came crashing to a halt when he returned from boozing it up with Orson Welles in Mexico during his It’s All True phase and collapsed during a rehearsal. He died several days later of alcohol related kidney failure. The year was 1946; Rags was only 41.

To find out more about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.


And check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from etc etc etc


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