TV clowns

Lou Jacobs circus poster - Barnum and Bailey Circus

list of Famous Clowns of the circus, stage, screen and television

Famous Clowns in history




Much of the information presented herein is borrowed shamelessly from the Clown Hall of Fame.  Much thanks to them. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, drop by – you won’t be disappointed.A listing of some of the famous clowns of history. If you don’t see someone listed that you think is deserving, please add a note in the comments, or email us. (more…)

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bob-denver-gilligan

Bob Denver, famous TV clown best known as Gilligan and Maynard C. Krebs

Bob Denver (January 9, 1935 – September 2, 2005)




Bob Denver, tv clown best known for his title role in Gilligan’s Island, was born on January 9, 1935 in New Rochelle, New York, U.S.A. He attended Loyola-Marymount University, in Los Angeles, where he was first exposed to acting. At first unsure that he wanted to be an actor, Bob Denver chose that profession over a career in law.  Bob was working as a high school teacher and as a part-time mailman while auditioning for various roles. His first “big break” came in 1959, landing the role of the ultimate beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs. He portrayed Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, where he appeared for four years. After playing Maynard G. Krebs, a clownish character with a propensity for verbal humor, he was offered the role for which he is most famous.  That of the visual, slapstick humor of the title character of Gilligan’s Island. (more…)

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Painting of Bob Keeshan as Clarabell Hornblower for the 1990 Clown Hall of Fame induction

Bob Keeshan, Captain Kangaroo, the original Clarabell the Clown

Robert James “Bob” Keeshan (June 27, 1927 – – January 23, 2004)





Better known to millions of viewers as the original Captain Kangaroo, Long Island native Bob Keeshan first came to national prominence as Clarabell the Clown on the Howdy Doody TV show (1947 – 1952). Bob was born in Long Island, but moved to Forest Hills, NY shortly after his birth. He had a happy childhood, living with his immigrant father, mother, younger sister and two older brothers. His mother died when Bob was only 15, and this deeply impacted him.

Without the influence of a school guidance counselor, Bob would have stayed mired in his grief. Instead, in his 18th year, he began working for NBC in their page program. A page was a low-level gopher, giving an individual an “in” at NBC, and giving them time to find where, if anywhere, they belonged at NBC. Before Bob could discover this for himself, World War II interrupted. Shortly before his 18th birthday, Bob joined the Marines and underwent basic training. After the war ended, Bob returned to NBC to finish his time as a page, working for Bob Smith during the day, and attending college at night.  He was planning to become a lawyer. (more…)

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Rebo the clown, portrayed by Bev Bergeron

Bev Bergeron, Rebo the magic clown

Beverly “Rebo” Bergeron (?? – present)

Rebo the clown, portrayed by Bev BergeronEveryone has seen a clown twisting a single balloon into a dog — but who did it first? The answer, unsurprisingly, is Bev Bergeron, in 1959. But he first came to national prominence a year earlier, in 1958, when he created Rebo the Clown to co-star with Mark Wilson and Nani Darnelle in the television series, Magic Circus and the Magic Land of Allakazam. (more…)

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