Charles J. Correll voiced the character Andy for 32 years on the "Amos 'n' Andy" radio show.
Correll was born in Peoria, Ill., grandson of a cousin of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. After graduating from high school, he worked as a state-employed stenographer, as a bricklayer and in an arsenal in World War I.
But he also played the piano and later became director of an amateur theatrical company that toured the South.
It was on Aug. 17, 1919, in Durham, N.C., that he met Freeman Gosden, who would go on to voice Amos in "Amos 'n' Andy." They formed a two-man team and toured tent shows in the South, sometimes singing duets.
The two weathered almost five decades of intense professional collaboration without a trace of discord. After their retirement from show business, they lived just blocks from each other in Beverly Hills.
Correll and Gosden started their blackface minstrel-show characterizations on Jan. 12, 1926, as "Sam 'n' Henry" over station WGN in Chicago.
They changed stations in 1928 and, because of a contract technicality with WGN, had to choose new names.
They couldn't think of anything right up to the first broadcast, but riding up in an elevator they overheard a man greet two others as "Famous Amos" and "Handy Andy." Amos and Andy were born.
The show went coast-to-coast on Aug. 18, 1929, and in the following decade their radio characters — de Kingfish, Madame Queen and Sapphire — made the "Amos 'n' Andy" show the most popular in the country.
The show left the air in 1960 after 32 years, the last of the big-name shows to subside under the sweeping wave of television. For well over a decade, it aired five or six nights a week.
The show had made Correll and Gosden wealthy, but they were always more or less anonymous. They appeared in only one movie, "Check and Double Check," in blackface in 1930. It flopped.
"We didn't look the parts," said Correll, explaining that Andy was supposed to be the big, fat one and Amos little and skinny, but that in real life Correll and Gosden were just the reverse.
African American actors were chosen to play Amos and Andy when the show went on television in 1951.