Victor Charles Buono (February 3, 1938 – January 1, 1982) was an American actor, comic, and briefly a recording artist. He was known for playing the villain King Tut on the television series Batman (1966–1968) and musician Edwin Flagg in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), the latter of which earned him Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations. He was a busy actor from his late teens until his death at age 43 and, with his large size and sonorous voice, he made a career of playing men much older than he was.
Early life and career
Buono was born in San Diego, California, the son of Myrtle Belle (née Keller) and Victor Francis Buono. His maternal grandmother, Myrtle Glied, was a vaudeville performer on the Orpheum Circuit. When he was a boy, she taught him songs and recitations and encouraged him to perform for visitors.
He started appearing on local radio and television stations, and at age 18 joined the Globe Theater Players in San Diego. The director had confidence in Buono and cast him in Volpone, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and other Globe presentations. He received good notices for his various Shakespearean roles and in modern plays such as The Man Who Came to Dinner and Witness for the Prosecution.
In the summer of 1959, a talent scout from Warner Bros. saw the heavy-set Buono play Falstaff at the Globe and took him to Hollywood for a screen test. Buono made his first network TV appearance playing the bearded poet Bongo Benny in an episode of 77 Sunset Strip. Over the next few years, he played menacing heavies in series on TV and appeared on The Untouchables. After appearing in a few uncredited film roles, he was cast by director Robert Aldrich in the psychological horror movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). The film starred Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, and Buono played the hapless musical accompanist Edwin Flagg, a performance for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture.
Actor Victor Buono – Wikipedia