George Carl, pantomimist, slapstick, silent clown
George Carl (May 7, 1916 – January 1, 2000) was a gifted pantomime slapstick artist and vaudevillian style clown. George Carl was born in Ohio, and started his comedy career traveling with a variety of circuses during his teenage years. In time, Carl would later become internationally famous as a clown and pantomime artist.
The Circus of Monte Carlo honored him with an award for his clowning, presented by Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco. In his sixties, Johnny Carson, a fan of Carl’s, invited him to appear on The Tonight Show. His appearance was so well received that he was asked back within weeks for a second appearance. That also received raves from viewers.
With hardly any props, except for a microphone and a mic stand, Carl would seemingly accidentally become tangled up in the mic cord, get his thumb stuck in the microphone stand and, through a flurry of silent bits, wind up accomplishing nothing at all in the time spent onstage. He also juggled his hat, coat and outfit, using them as comedy props as well.
At the age of 79, George Carl made his screen debut in the 1995 film Funny Bones also starring Jerry Lewis. He played an old music-hall comedian who never spoke until a scene in which his character explains the reason why performers perform. On screen, he mentions that this short speech is the longest that his character has ever spoken.
George Carl passed away on January 1, 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada, from cancer complications.