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Don Burda, Homer the happy hobo

Don Burda, aka. Homer the happy hoboDon Burda, Homer the happy hobo (1935 – 2008)

Don Burda grew up in the small town of Friend, Nebraska, and married his high school sweetheart, Delores (better known as “Dee”€™), in 1956. In 1960, he moved to California to pursue a theatrical career, and during a period of 15 years was cast in thirty-eight stage productions. But a phone call in 1970 changed the course of his life.

In 1970, a children’s theater troupe asked Don to play the role of a clown, and he fell in love with the art of clowning. By 1972, he had created his character, Homer, a happy  tramp clown.

For the past 31 years together with his wife and assistant “Dee” have performed in over 10,000 performances, on television, in theaters, at trade shows, corporate events ,and private parties. In that time, Homer has won twenty-three first and second place awards in clown and character make-up, skits and balloon sculpturing, and in 1995 received the prestigious honor of being inducted into the  International Clown Hall of Fame. The Burdas have been instructors at the  UW-La Crosse Clown Camp ® since 1986, and also lecture frequently on the Art of Clowning. For the last four years has conducted Clown Encounters, weekend conferences taught by Don and  Leon “Buttons” McBryde. Don is the author of the popular balloon sculpture book, Homer’s Rubber Bubbles.

After a prolonged illness, Don Burda has passed away on September 11, 2008. His wife, Dee, also passed away in 2010.  They are survived by their daughter, Denise.

Quotes from Don Burda:

  • “The appeal of the clown is that he’s in a little world of his own and everything happens to him. And they go on. No matter what happens to the clown, he always goes on.”
  • “I realized what this clown character had done – €”It had such an impact on people. I had to pursue it. I still did theater for a while, then switched to my own clowning business. I changed the whole direction of my career. It’€™s still theater but it’s a new character that I created.”


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.

One thought on “Don Burda, Homer the happy hobo

  1. M. Valladares SF California says:

    Give Honor to where Honor is due , Don Thank you for walking beside down the path and mentoring me .. I have my Clown shoes but do not wear them as much. We had some great time talking about stuff “the meaning of Life in our world”. Wis-per a prayer for us who are still on Earth waiting for our last walk – around …..


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