Tommy Hanneford biography (September 27, 1927 – December 5, 2005)
Thomas Robert Hanneford, “The funniest man on horseback,” nephew of Poodles Hanneford, famous circus clown and trick rider, has passed away in Sarasota, Florida, U.S.A. Tommy Hanneford was born into the circus, as part of the Royal Hanneford circus, son of George Hanneford, Sr. and Catherine Breen and nephew of the celebrated circus clown Poodles Hanneford.
Tommy Hanneford began performing in the circus as a clown at the age of 5, became a famous comedy horseman, and after retiring from active performing, Tommy became the producer of The Royal Hanneford Circus, at times having as many as five shows going at the same time. As a skilled director he staged circuses from Coast to Coast, directed circus-type productions for the grandstand shows of leading State Fairs, and acted as a technical adviser for many TV productions as well as the motion picture ‘Barnum’ starring Burt Lancaster. Tommy served honorably in the United State Army and his shows reflected his patriotism.
Tommy Hanneford’s last appearance with the circus was three weeks previous at a Shriner’s Circus in Springfield, Ill.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Gertrude (“Struppi”), as well as a daughter, a brother and three grandchildren. Further information is available at the official website of the Royal Hanneford Circus.