Arthur Pedlar (1932 – )
Arthur Vercoe Pedlar was born into a Congregational family and lives in in Southport, Merseyside, England. He was educated at Leighton Park School in Reading, Berkshire, England, a Quaker school. He first became interested in clowns when he visited the Bertram Mills Circus in 1938. At school he discovered that he could communicate silently with an audience as a tramp clown and developed “Vercoe” the clown.
At school, he learned to ride a unicycle as well as to play various musical instruments, which later became skills that he used on stage as his clown character, Vercoe. Before joining the family business, he worked in a troupe of clowns as part of the Cirque Medrano in Paris. He also worked for three weeks as an assistant to Buster Keaton.
Arthur Pedlar’s interest in preserving variety arts history led to his portrayals of famous music hall entertainers, transforming characters on stage by changing rubber noses, wigs and costume accessories. He later created Arturo, a classical continental whiteface clown, who plays straight man to a puppet. During his career, Arthur Pedlar has performed his clown act in not only in the United Kingdom, but in various countries around the world
Arthur Pedlar is also an ordained Elder of the United Reformed Church. Not surprisingly, he is involved in clown ministry, and is a member of the “Holy Fools”, an inter-denominational group of clowns.
In his personal life, Arthur Pedlar is married and has two children.
UPDATE: Arthur Pedlar has won the 2013 Lifetime of Laughter award