When the show's popularity abruptly faded, Buttons' career stalled, but like Frank Sinatra, another compact, multi-talented performer who was called a has-been, Buttons also revived his career with a very dramatic performance which copped him a supporting actor Oscar. As a soldier whose interracial romance with a Japanese woman leads to bigotry-induced tragedy in "Sayonara" (1957), Buttons began a very successful career as a character actor in features. While not eschewing comedy (the rowdy adventure "Hatari!" 1962, the underrated "Movie Movie" 1978, "18 Again" 1988), some of Buttons' best work has been in drama. His smart, supportive agent was the best thing about the trashy if watchable Hollywood biopic, "Harlow" (1965) and he was very moving as a desperate dance marathoner in the striking "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (1969). Buttons also did well as one of the endangered passengers in the surprisingly good disaster epic, "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972). Some of Buttons' most visible work in more recent years, though, has been on TV. The deliberately abrasive edge Buttons brings to his manic characters was prominent in the cranky messenger who plagued the cast of "Knot's Landing" for the 1987 season. He was also often show-stoppingly hilarious stomping onto the dais of Dean Martin's celebrity roasts (1972-77; and occasional 80s specials) to harangue the honoree with wild cries of "Some of the most famous people in history never got a dinner!"