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Red Skelton Collapses, But Finishes Benefit Performance

July 18, 1988

HONOLULU (AP) _ Red Skelton collapsed during a benefit performance, but returned to the stage as the audience sang ″Happy Birthday″ to the veteran comedian-clown who turns 75 today, an organizer of the event said.

Skelton, overcome by heat and humidity, collapsed into the arms of the sound crew as he left the stage 90 minutes into his two-hour outdoor performance Sunday night, said Lynn Cook, executive director of the March of Dimes Chapter of the Pacific.

″I’m really not feeling well. I’m going to have to leave you. I’m very sorry,″ Skelton told the audience before he collapsed, according to Mrs. Cook.

Comedian Milton Berle, who turned 80 last Tuesday, came up from the audience to take over the microphone as his wife, Ruth, and Skelton’s wife, Lothian, rushed backstage, Mrs. Cook said.

Skelton revived with the aid of an ambulance crew that administered oxygen, returned to the stage and finished the show.

Doctors who examined Skelton later determined he had been overcome by heat, dehydration and exhaustion, Mrs. Cook said.

Sunday’s high in Honolulu reached a record-tying 90 degrees.

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