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Welcome to Famous Clowns

Welcome to FamousClowns.org, a web site dedicated to the history and performance of clowning. Famous Clowns is run by Tom Raymond, who performs at a professional clown as Raynbow the Clown in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

What can you do here? There’s a free tutorial on starting clowning, articles on topics such as the Clown Commandments, biographies of famous clowns(including Charlie Chaplin, Red Skelton, Bob Bell, WGN-TV’s Bozo the Clown, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Emmett Kelly,Bob Keeshan,The Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, and many others), reviews of books and movies on clowning, and much more.

Circus Directory. We are listed under Clowning category


Clowning tutorial

Clowning tutorial

Do you want to be a clown? Do you want to know how? Here’s a series of tutorials on how to do that: Read More…


list of Famous Clowns of the circus, stage, screen and television

list of Famous Clowns of the circus, stage, screen and television

Famous Clowns in history

Much of the information presented herein is borrowed shamelessly from the Clown Hall of Fame. Much thanks to them. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, drop by – you won’t be disappointed.

A listing of some of the famous clowns of history. If you don’t see someone listed that you think is deserving, please add a note in the comments, or email us. Read More…

A History of Clowns

A History of Clowns

(thanks to Bruce “Charlie” Johnson and The Clown Hall of Fame)

Introduction

The art of clowning has existed for thousands of years. A pygmy clown performed as a jester in the court of Pharaoh Dadkeri-Assi during Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty about 2500 B.C. Court jesters have performed in China since 1818 B.C. Throughout history most cultures have had clowns. Read More…

International Clown Hall of Fame inductees

International Clown Hall of Fame inductees

The International Clown Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the art of clowning. There are three categories that a clown can be inducted into:

  1. Active
  2. Inactive
  3. Historical

A minimum of 25 years of clown experience is required to be eligible for the Active and Inactive categories. Clowns who had a major impact upon the history of clowning are inducted in the Historical category. Those who have been inducted are: 
Read More…

George Carl

George Carl

George CarlGeorge Carl (May 7, 1916 – January 1, 2000) was a gifted pantomime slapstick artist and vaudevillian style clown. George Carl was born in Ohio, and started his comedy career traveling with a variety of circuses during his teenage years. In time, Carl would later become internationally famous as a clown and pantomime artist. Read More…

Grandma’s Boy

Grandma’s Boy

Grandma’s Boy (1922) starring Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis

Grandma’s Boy is the story of a quiet, shy, and yes, cowardly young man played by Harold Lloyd. His childhood is shown in flashback, humorously showing his cowardly nature — which gets him in further trouble as he’s courting his girlfriend (Mildred Davis) only to be intimidated by a bully (Charles Stevenson) who takes credit for churning the ice cream (the film is set back in the 1920’s after all) and ends up pushing him into a well — where his suit comically shrinks. Read More…

Bob “Hambone” Hamilton (1929-1998)

Bob “Hambone” Hamilton (1929-1998)

Bob Hamilton entered the clowning work in 1974 after becoming a Shriner. He maintained a strong association with the Shriners, but also became an influential role model in the Clowns of America organization and the Midwest Clown Association. His forte was in the crafting of clever parade props which won him many trophies and awards. Bob was a charter member of the Calumet Clowns and in the Hall of Fame of the Midwest Clown Association. He was a member of Orak Temple Shrine Clown Unit, the International Shrine Clown Association, the Great Lakes Shrine Clown Unit Association and Clowns of America, International. Read More…

Billy Gilbert

Billy Gilbert

Biography of Billy Gilbert (September 12, 1894 – September 23, 1971)

Billy Gilbert was an American comedian and actor known for his comic sneeze routines. He appeared in over 200 feature films, short subjects and television shows starting in 1929. Read More…

Tall Tales of a Short Clown

Tall Tales of a Short Clown

Editorial review of Tall Tales of a Short Clown, courtesy of Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Tall Tales of a Short Clown, by Barry LubinTall Tales of a Short Clown is the story of Barry Lubin, whose alter ego, Grandma, became one of the most successful clowns in American history, and was named “The World’s Funniest Grandma” in Germany. Barry has entertained well over a hundred million people in circus rings, stadiums, arenas, on stage, in festivals, in films, and on television as the funny little carpetbagger with a mischievous view of the world. Read More…

Clowns: In conversation with modern masters

Clowns: In conversation with modern masters

Clowns: In conversation with modern masters, by Ezra LeBank (Editor), David Bridel (Editor)

Buy from Amazon.com

Editorial review of Clowns: In conversation with modern masters, courtesy of Amazon.com

Clowns: In conversation with modern mastersClowns: In Conversation with Modern Masters is a groundbreaking collection of conversations with 20 of the greatest clowns on earth. In discussion with clown aficionados Ezra LeBank and David Bridel, these legends of comedy reveal the origins, inspirations, techniques, and philosophies that underpin their remarkable odysseys. Featuring incomparable artists, including Slava Polunin, Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Oleg Popov, Dimitri, Nola Rae, and many more, Clowns is a unique and definitive study on the art of clowning. Read More…

A Sea Dog’s Tale

A Sea Dog’s Tale (1926) starring Billy Bevan, Andy Clyde, Vernon Dent

Buy from Amazon.com A Sea Dog’s Tale is a Mack Sennet comedy starring Billy Bevan, but begins somewhere in the South Seas, where the cast (people in black-face) are having a contest, involving spear throwing at a victim, that’s ultimately won by Jo Jo (Vernon Dent, best known for his work with the Three Stooges).  Jo Jo wants to use his notoriety to marry the beautiful daughter of Chief Gumbo (Andy Clyde)—but she refuses, having seen in their weekly newspaper (seriously) a photo of a champion pancake eater Wilbur Waters (Billy Bevan), and deciding that she’ll marry only him. Read More…

Hoboken to Hollywood

Hoboken to Hollywood

Hoboken to Hollywood (1926) starring Billy Bevin, Vernon Dent

Buy from Amazon.com Movie review of the silent film comedy “Hoboken to Hollywood” (1926) starring Billy Bevan, co-starring Vernon Dent

Hollywood to Hoboken - Billy Bevan, Vernon DentYou likely know someone who laughs at everyone else’s misfortune—especially when he causes it.  In a nutshell, that’s the character that Billy Bevan plays here.  He’s ordered by his boss to head out to their California office, hence the title. He calls up his wife, packs their car, and starts driving to California.  Along the way, he runs (literally) into another couple relocating to California—Vernon Dent (of Three Stooges fame) and Thelma Hill.  From the beginning, Billy’s helpful advice causes grief (and slapstick violence) to Vernon Dent—backing into his motor home and leaving him dangling off a cliff (a funny scene), breaking Vernon’s axe on a petrified tree, drenching Vernon with the juice of a cactus (a very funny scene, with Vernon playing his part to the hilt), convincing them that they’re under attack from the “Hop-Eye Indians” and so on, finally arriving in California. Read More…


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