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Tommy Hanneford

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.


Computer nerd by day, professional clown on evenings and weekends (Raynbow), who combines the two by maintaining a bunch of websites dedicated to the history and performances of clowning, such as Free Clown Skits, and comedy such as Best Clean Funny Jokes.

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