Born Alphonse Helwig in Cincinnati, Ohio, he took the professional name Al Ross in 1930 when he was part of the Ross acrobatic troupe. Ross, a tramp clown, provided training for fellow shrine clowns in proper clowning skills and etiquette. He would shoot long balloons into the circus crowd. When he threw away his black derby hat, it came right back to him. He rode an old bicycle that fell apart, and was adept at acrobatic balancing and tumbling. Ross was a member of the Aladdin Temple Shrine unit and was seen in many shrine and other circuses in the U.S. He was a performer with the Jack Parr Special Service Unit. During his last interview, he stated “anyone who can make people laugh has the greatest gift God can give a man.”
Al Ross was inducted into the 1993 Clown Hall of Fame.
Anyone who can make people laugh has the greatest gift God can give a man.