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Actor Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers Dies

April 22, 1999

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) _ Actor and bandleader Charles ``Buddy″ Rogers, the husband of screen legend Mary Pickford and star of the first film to win the best-picture Oscar, died Wednesday at his home. He was 94.

Rogers was a student at the University of Kansas when his father persuaded him to send in his photo to a Paramount Pictures talent hunt. He made his screen debut in 1926 with Paramount’s ``Fascinating Youth.″

A year later, as the silent-movie era waned, Rogers starred in ``Wings,″ playing a small-town boy who becomes a World War I pilot only to accidentally shoot down his best friend. The film took Hollywood’s top honor at the first Academy Awards ceremony in May 1929.

Rogers married Miss Pickford after her marriage to fellow superstar Douglas Fairbanks fell apart in the 1930s. He was married to her from 1936 until her death in 1979.

While his wife’s celebrity surpassed his own, Rogers had roles in films such as ``Young Eagles,″ ``This Way Please″ and ``Mexican Spitfire’s Baby,″ earning the nickname ``America’s Boyfriend.″

Miss Pickford ended her film career after only a handful of talking films, but Rogers remained active on screen through the ’30s and early ’40s.

After television arrived, he became a regular on the ``Cavalcade of Bands″ on the Dumont network in 1951.

Rogers, who remarried in 1980, is survived by his wife, Beverly.

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