Wife Mary Pickford
Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cathedral City, Riverside County, California, USA
Charles Edward "Buddy" Rogers (August 13, 1904 – April 21, 1999) was an American film actor and musician. During the peak of his popularity in the late 1920s and early 1930s he was publicized as "America's Boy Friend".
Rogers was born to Maude and Bert Henry Rogers in Olathe, Kansas. He studied at the University of Kansas where he became an active member of Phi Kappa Psi. In the mid-1920s he began acting professionally in Hollywood films. A talented trombonist skilled on several other musical instruments, Rogers performed with his own dance band in motion pictures and on radio. During World War II, he served in the United States Navy as a flight training instructor. According to American Dance Bands On Record and Film (1915–1942), compiled by Richard J. Johnson and Bernard H. Shirley (Rustbooks Publishing, 2010), Rogers was not a bandleader in the usual sense of the term. Instead, he was a film actor who fronted bands for publicity purposes. In 1933–34 Rogers took over the popular Joe Haymes orchestra, to which he added drummer Gene Krupa. His later bands were organized by Milt Shaw. In 1930, he recorded two records for Columbia as a solo singer with a small jazz band accompanying. In 1932, he signed with Victor and recorded four sweet dance band records with a group organized by drummer, and later actor, Jess Kirkpatrick. In 1938, he signed with Vocalion and recorded six swing records.
On June 24, 1937, Rogers became the third husband of silent film actress Mary Pickford. Their romance had begun in 1927, when they co-starred in My Best Girl, but they kept it on ice until Pickford's separation and 1936 divorce from Douglas Fairbanks. The couple adopted two children—Roxanne (born 1944, adopted in 1944) and Ronald Charles (born 1937, adopted in 1943)—and remained married for 42 years until Pickford's death in 1979. Rogers was reportedly bisexual and may have had an affair with Gene Raymond who was married to Jeanette MacDonald. Louis B. Mayer of MGM studios arranged MacDonald's marriage to prevent MacDonald from marrying her on-screen partner Nelson Eddy, which would have ruined her career. Mayer was concerned that a MacDonald-Eddy marriage would end in divorce, due to their temperaments, then he would lose his lucrative box office team. MacDonald had an affair with Eddy anyway, and Gene Raymond continued to have affairs with other men. In fact, on their honeymoon MacDonald caught Raymond in an embrace with Buddy Rogers.
Nicknamed "Buddy", his most-remembered performance in film was opposite Clara Bow in the 1927 Academy Award winning Wings, the first film ever honored as Best Picture. In 1968, he appeared as himself in an episode of Petticoat Junction titled "Wings", a direct reference to the silent movie.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Rogers has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6135 Hollywood Blvd, which was dedicated on February 8, 1960. Respected by his peers for his work in film and for his humanitarianism, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Rogers in 1986 with The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. A Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to him in 1993.
Rogers died in Rancho Mirage, California, on April 21, 1999, at the age of 94 of natural causes, and was interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Cathedral City, near Palm Springs.
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