Leon McBryde, aka. “Buttons” (1943 – )
Inducted into the 1990 Clown Hall of Fame
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.
In 1978, he formed his own company, Fantasy Factory Ltd., where he began producing his own shows, starting with “Ronald McDonald School Safety Show” in 1980 and “The Big Red Shoe Review” in 1983, both for the McDonalds corporation.
Starting in 1983, he began appearing on (and writing for) “Toddlers Friends,” a TV show in Chicago on WCFC-TV, for the next 9 years. From 1984 through 1991, he was part of the staff at the UW La Crosse’s Clown College. Apparently not having enough to do, he introduced the ProKNOWS line of clown noses, followed by the ProFACE line of clown makeup in 1996.
In 1990, Leon “Buttons” McBryde was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame. In addition to running his clown accessories business, Leon continues performing as Buttons, as Santa Claus, and as Oz, as well as working in clown workshops across the country. At 6’7″ tall, Leon McBryde is a giant in his field, both figuratively and literally.
Leon is married to his wife Linda, and they have two grown sons, Casey and Adam.
He contributed to the book Clown Magic.