Jackie’s parents were performers with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus when he was born. He started clowning at a very young age, and as a young man became a salaried performer in partnership with his father who was also a clown. When he was 19, Jackie became an aerialist. He soon returned to clowning but maintained his aerial skills. He doubled on the trapeze for Cornell Wilde in the film Greatest Show on Earth. After graduating from high school, Jackie took his father’s place in the show the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey sent to Havana, Cuba. During the 1950’s Jackie booked his one-man act for fairs and other circuses. In the 1960’s he once again worked with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus.
He was the producing clown for a unit they sent to South America touring extensively in Argentina and Brazil. Jackie also spent two and a half years touring in advance for RBB&B as their Ambassador of Goodwill. In 1968, Jackie was one of five clowns who performed with the first American circus to appear in the Soviet Union. They appeared in Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev. Jackie also toured with the European Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus unit that appeared across Europe. Most recently, Jackie was the official Rich Plan Frozen Food Co. Clown he did everything from promotional advertising to school assembly shows. He is a popular instructor, teaching at the UW – Clown Camp and lecturing at clown conventions.
Jackie Le Claire was inducted into the 1996 Clown Hall of Fame.
Sad to report, Jackie passed away on March 16th, 2019.