Frank “Slivers” Oakley

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 his first circus. His parents convinced him to enroll at the University of Michigan but two years later Oakley was back under the big top.

His first show was Andrew MacDonald’s Circus, but in 1897 he joined the Ringling Bros. Circus. Before the turn of the century, Oakley performed with the Barnum & Bailey Circus, followed by three seasons with the Adam Forepaugh & Sells Bros. Circus (1900–02). Oakley returned to the Barnum & Bailey Circus for four seasons (1903–07), where he reportedly earned up to $1,000 a week. Continue reading

2014 International Clown Hall of Fame inductees

2014 International Clown Hall of Fame inductees

“It is the Board of Directors great honor and privilege to announce the 2014 selections for Induction into the International Clown Hall of Fame. Chuck Burnes, Dougie Ashton, Paul Wenzel and Carl “Swede” Johnson are recognized for their contributions to the art of clowning and celebrates them as among the greatest clowns in history.The induction ceremony will take place, July 23, 2014 in Baraboo, WI, during the Circus Celebration festivities. More details to follow.On behalf of the ICHOF Board of Directors, we extend our heartiest congratulations to these clowns who have spent a lifetime performing the noble art of making others happy!” Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Clown Types – the Auguste clown

Character of the Auguste clown

The  Auguste clown is in a class by himself. The least intelligent (although that’s not saying much : ) of the clowns, he is also perhaps the most beloved. With the most exaggerated make-up and movements, this is the zaniest of the clowns. Famous Auguste clowns include  Cooky,  Coco,  Albert Fratellini,  Grock,  Lou Jacobs, and  Leon “Buttons” McBryde. Continue reading

Emmett Kelly Sr. biography – world famous tramp clown

Emmett Kelly, Sr. (December 9, 1898 – March 28, 1979) – Weary Willy

Emmett Kelly as Weary WillieEmmett Kelly Sr., the most well-known of the tramp clowns of the circus. His character, Weary Willy, was the perpetual underdog, who never gave up – and, because of it, occasionally won.   He was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1989.   Continue reading