|Richard Skelton Jr.'s death on May 10, 1958 from leukemia, just 10 days before his 10th birthday, devastated the Skelton household. Family friend Arthur Marx, Groucho's son, whose unauthorized biography of Skelton came out in 1979, wrote "Red treated his son's room in their Palm Springs house like a little museum. ...He had it cordoned off with a velvet rope so nobody could go in there." Another family friend actress Arlene Dahl, who costarred with Skelton in three films: "The death of his child really did Red in. He idolized that boy."|
Richard Jr.'s death profoundly affected Red and Georgia greatly. By 1966, mother Georgia Skelton wounded herself in an "accidental shooting". On May 10, 1976, ex-wife Georgia committed suicide by gunshot, on the anniversary of her son's death. She was 55.