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Earl Chaney – Mr. Clown

Earl Chaney - Mr. Clown
Earl Chaney (March 6, 1945 – ) Earl Chaney – Mr. Clown – has been making children of all ages laugh for over twenty years. He perfected his clowning talent in Clown College.  Earl Chaney went on to become one of the best-loved clown characters with the Ringling...
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Frank “Slivers” Oakley

Frank "Slivers" Oakley in his baseball skit
Frank Oakley, aka. Slivers, 1871-1916 Frank Oakley, also known as Slivers (1871–1916) was the most popular circus clown of his generation. Born in Sweden, both of Oakley’s parents were concert singers. At the age of 14 he began to practice as a contortionist and at 16 he joined...
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Paul Wenzel

Paul Wenzel, in one of his props, seemingly pulled by a goose
Professor Paul Wenzel was born in 1878, and performed as  a circus clown for over 60 years throughout the United States of America. Paul Wenzel appeared with large and small shows before finding a permanent home with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
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Swede Johnson

Swede Johnson was born Carl Gehlert Johansen in Ribe, Denmark in 1903. Swede was a fourth generation circus performer, and traveled with his family in their own circus throughout the Scandinavian countries while growing up. At the age of 15, he went to work in the Hagenbeck Zoo...
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Peggy Williams, circus clown

Peggy Williams circus clown
Peggy Williams, while a speech pathology major at theUniversity of Wisconsin  where her focus was on working in  deaf education, thought clowning might sharpen her nonverbal communication skills. She became interested in Clown College and became the  first female graduate of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circuses...
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Duane Thorpe, Uncle Soapy, whiteface circus clown

Duane Thorpe, aka. Uncle Soapy
Duane “Uncle Soapy” Thorpe (1924 – 1995) Inducted into the 2000 Clown Hall of Fame. Duane “Uncle Soapy” Thorpe is one of the few clowns to have had a successful career while working for only one circus. (Although Duane was in his fair share of soap gags through...
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Nola Rae – famous clown and mime

Nola Rae
After working for two years as a professional ballerina, Nola Rae realized she would never be a great dancer. Wanting to apply her ballet technique, and not interested in speaking on stage, she turned to mime and studied with Marcel Marceau. In 1976, after a season with the...
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Francois Fratellini, famous white face clown

Francois Fratellini
Francois Fratellini (1879 – 1951) The Fratellini’s were a smoothly functioning trio whose characters provided effective contrasts: Francois, the elegant white face clown; Albert Fratellini, the grotesque (comedy) whiteface, and Paul Fratellini half-way between them, sometimes taking one brother’s side, sometimes the other’s. (Albert Fratellini was inducted into...
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Gene Lee, aka. Cousin Otto – famous circus clown

Uncle Otto
Gene “Cousin Otto” Lee (1920 – 2016) Inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1992, Wisconsin’s first Hall of Fame inductee, who was born in Milwaukee, logged his 50th year in clowning in 1991. Gene Lee’s clowning career included early stints in Cole Bros., Cole Bros.- Clyde...
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