Feisty, diminutive, red-haired comedian who regularly played very serious dramatic roles in features. A veteran of New York burlesque and the Catskills comedy circuit, Buttons appeared as a pilot in training in the moral-boosting stage drama "Winged Victory," and recreated the role soon thereafter in the 1944 film version. He played on Broadway after WWII and enjoyed tremendous popularity during the first season of TV's "The Red Buttons Show" (1952-55). Part variety show, part sitcom, the program gave full vent to Buttons' manic, fast-talking, knockabout style. One of Buttons' oft-repeated gestures, placing his hands together in a desperate, somewhat prayerful manner, was on regular display in the show, and children everywhere mimicked the "Ho Ho! He He! Ha Ha! Strange things are happening!" theme song. His gallery of characters, meanwhile, including the Sad Sack; the Kupke Kid, a child; Rocky, a boxer; and the bumbling Keeglefarven, played up the at-once argumentative and long-suffering aspects of his persona.