Auguste clowns

Achille Zavata

Achille Zavatta

Achille Zavatta (May 6, 1915 – November 16, 1993)

Achille Zavatta was one of the most famous French clowns, as well as an artist, composer, and circus operator. (more…)

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Grock d'or statue

Grock, Karl Adrien Wettch, inducted into the clown hall of fame in 1992

Karl Adrien “Grock” Wettach (Jan. 10, 1880 – July 14, 1959)

Grock, Karl Adrien WettachInducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1992, Swiss born Karl Adrien Wettach became the toast of European entertainment as “Grock” the clown. The son of a watchmaker, he became an amateur acrobat and was allowed to spend each summer with a circus, where he performed first as a tumbler and then as a violinist, pianist, and xylophonist. He became the partner of a clown named Brick and changed his name to Grock in 1903. Together they appeared in France, North Africa, and South America. When Brick married, Grock joined the celebrated clown Antonet (Umberto Guillaume). At Berlin, appearing on a stage instead of in an arena, they failed at first; but, by mastering the stage technique, they obtained a London engagement in 1911. (more…)

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Dr. Richard Snowberg as Snowflake Junior

Biography of Richard Snowberg, aka Snowflake – caring clown, founder of Clown Camp

Richard SnowbergRichard Snowberg (??? – ) – Snowflake

I met Dr. Richard Snowberg when my wife & I attended Clown Camp ® at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse in 1998. Unfortunately, Dr. Snowberg, the founder of Clown Camp, was not able to participate that year, as he had to teach classes that week.   Yes, he was a professor at the UW-La Crosse. He made time in his busy schedule to hold a late-night session on caring clowning anyway, lasting past midnight as I recall. That illustrates his character very well, in my opinion; he went the extra mile to help other clowns be better prepared. (more…)

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Steve "T.J. Tatters" Smith (1951 - )

Steve Smith, aka. TJ Tatters

Steve “T.J. Tatters” Smith (1951 – )

Steve Smith, aka. TJ TattersSteve Smith is best known as the director of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey‘s Clown College. He was a graduate of the college (1971) and a performer and goodwill ambassador with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey show’s blue unit for the next six years. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he received his bachelor’s degree in acting from the Goodman School of Drama. At Clown College, Steve not only served in an administrative capacity, but also taught several classes and conducted nationwide auditions for new students. Steve’s energy and enthusiasm has made him a popular teacher and lecturer on clowning throughout the U.S. He was appointed director for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus in 1992. (more…)

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Oleg Popov

Oleg Popov, the Sunshine Clown

Oleg Popov (1930 – 2016)

Oleg PopovOleg Popov was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1993

Born July 31, 1930 in Vyrubovo, Russia, Oleg Popov became the top clown with the Moscow State Circus. Known as the “Sunshine Clown,” Popov’s character is considered gentle and poetic. He graduated from the Moscow circus school in 1949 and was made assistant to the great Karandash, who taught Popov the nuances of clowning. Popov is talented on the slack-wire and has a repertoire of over 80 clown sketches. This gentle satirist has taken his expertness at wire walking and juggling, and incorporated these skills with traditional gags and soft humor. (more…)

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Arthur Pedlar

Arthur Pedlar – famous English clown

Arthur Pedlar (1932 – )

Arthur PedlarArthur Vercoe Pedlar was born into a Congregational family and lives in in Southport, Merseyside, England. He was educated at Leighton Park School in Reading, Berkshire, England, a Quaker school. He first became interested in clowns when he visited the Bertram Mills Circus in 1938. At school he discovered that he could communicate silently with an audience as a tramp clown and   developed “Vercoe” the clown. (more…)

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Face of Leon McBryde as Buttons

Leon McBryde, aka. “Buttons” biography

Leon McBryde, aka. “Buttons” (1943 – )

Inducted into the 1990 Clown Hall of Fame

Buttons, Leon McBrydeGrowing up in Texas, at the age of 7 young Leon McBryde watched Lou Jacobs perform in the Ringling Brothers circus, and thought that it would be wonderful to do that when he grew up.

In 1969, he got that opportunity when “Buttons” was accepted into the Ringling Brothers Clown College; a year later, he was touring with the Blue Unit of Ringling as a professional clown, and the following year working as Ringling’s Good Will Ambassador — as well as teaching at their Clown College.   He spent the next six years traveling coast to coast, performing at schools and hospitals. (more…)

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Lou Jacobs listening

Lou Jacobs biography – Auguste circus clown

Lou Jacobs (January 1, 1903 – September 13, 1992)

Lou Jacobs listeningInducted into the 1989 Clown Hall of Fame

Lou Jacobs is a legend among clowns. Nearly a decade after his death, he is still immediately recognizable to millions of people, with his bulbous nose, cone-head topped by a tiny fedora hat with a shock of bright red hair around his ears and the ever-present oversize plaid coat, Lou Jacobs personified clowning for Children of All Ages. He entertained audiences at Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey for more than 60 years before retiring from performing at age 84. (more…)

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