List of clowns

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Main article: Clown
"ON THE LAST DAY OF THE CARNIVAL, Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday,) promiscuous masking is allowed on the streets, which are thronged with picturesque bands of maskers of every age and condition, and their costumes run in every garment from the clown to kings and queens."
The view shows a group of maskers in the street, most in costumes of clowns with polka-dots and pointed hats. A sign on the neutral ground reads "Welcome to the Winter Capital of America". Early 20th century postcard






  • Abbott & Costello (William (Bud) Abbott, 1897–1974); Louis Costello, 1906–1959) American comedy duo whose mastery of the white clown (straight man) /red clown (comic) relationship made them one of the most popular and respected teams in American comedy history
  • Ben Turpin (September 19, 1869 – July 1, 1940) cross-eyed comedian, best remembered for his work in silent films
  • Buster Keaton – (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966) The Great Stoneface. His innovative work as both a comedian and a director made great contributions to the development of the art of cinema
  • Charlie Chaplin – (April 16, 1889 – December 25, 1977) British born comedian. The most famous actor in early to mid Hollywood cinema era, he acted in, directed, scripted, produced, and eventually scored his own films. His principal character was "The Little Tramp"
  • Chester Conklin (January 11, 1886 – October 11, 1971) American comedian and actor
  • Harry Langdon – (June 15, 1884 – December 22, 1944) was an American silent film comedian and a first class mime
  • Jacques Tati – (October 9, 1908 – November 5, 1982) was a French comedian, mime and filmmaker best known as the socially inept Monsieur Hulot
  • Keystone Cops incompetent group of policemen created by Mack Sennett for his Keystone Film Company between 1912 and 1917
  • Laurel & Hardy – perhaps the most famous comedy duo in film history
  • Martin & Lewis – an American comedy duo, comprising singer Dean Martin (as the "straight man") and comedian Jerry Lewis (as his stooge)
  • The Marx Brothers – a team of sibling comedians that appeared in vaudeville, stage plays, film and television
  • Peter Sellers – (September 8, 1925 – July 24, 1980) Extremely versatile and talented English comedian and actor best remembered for the character of Inspector Clouseu
  • Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle (March 24, 1887 – June 29, 1933) One of the most popular actors of his era, but is best known today for his central role in the so-called "Fatty Arbuckle scandal"
  • Shaggy 2 Dope; DJ of the Insane Clown Posse, a Detroit-based hip-hop group with a fan army of "schizophrenic wizards" called the juggalos and star of underground film Big Money Hustlaz
  • Slim Pickens, rodeo clown and film actor
  • Snub Pollard (November 9, 1889, Melbourne, Australia, – January 19, 1962) was a silent film comedian, popular in the 1920s.
  • The Three Stooges – starred in many short features that consisted of masterful ways of showcasing their extremely physical brand of slapstick comedy
  • W.C. Fields – (January 29, 1880 – December 25, 1946) was an American comedian and actor. Fields created one of the great American comic personas of the first half of the 20th century
  • Violent J; The leader of the Insane Clown Posse, a Detroit-based hip-hop group and star of Big Money Hustlaz underground film




  • A. Robins – Vaudeville's "The Banana Man" and "One Man Music Shop"
  • Andy Kaufman American comic and one of the most famous practitioners of anti-humor
  • Clark & McCullough – Bobby Clark & Paul McCullough started as circus clowns and progressed to be stars of stage and screen
  • Ed Wynn – The Perfect Fool
  • George Carl – Longtime star of the Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris
  • George Washington Lafayette Fox, perhaps the most famous American stage clown during the 19th century and one of the first known performers to become typecast in a role
  • Joseph Grimaldi credited with being "the first whiteface clown" — in an homage to Grimaldi, circus clowns began referring to themselves and each other as "Joey"s, and the term 'joey' is now a synonym for clown
  • Olsen & Johnson – Stars of Broadway's Hellzapoppin'
  • Richard Tarlton – actor and clown in the Elizabethan theatre in England
  • Robert Armin – actor and clown in Shakespeare's company
  • Spike Jones and his City Slickers – Murdered the classics with their "Musical Depreciation Revue"; versatile American musical act featuring slapstick circus-style comedy
  • Tommy Cooper – British comedy magician
  • W. C. Fields – Vaudeville comedy star who mastered the variety as well as the legitimate stage, silent and talking films, print and radio
  • Will Kempe (fl. c 1589–1600) – actor dancer and clown who worked with Shakespeare; famously jigged his way from Norwich to London in 1600



See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Poor Clown by Charlie Rivel
  • Behind My Greasepaint by Coco
  • Bert Williams – A Biography of the Pioneer Black Comedian by Eric Ledell Smith
  • The Book Of Clown by George Speaight
  • Bring On The Clowns by Beryl Hugil
  • Clown, My Life In Tatters and Smiles by Emmett Kelly and F. Beverly Kelly
  • The Clown In Times (Volumes 1–6) by Bruce Johnson
  • Clowns by Douglas Newton
  • Clowns by John Towsen
  • Clowns Of The Hope – Tradition Keepers and Delight Makers by Barton Wright
  • Felix Adler by Anne Aull Bowber
  • The Fool and His Scepter by William Willeford
  • Fools and Jesters At The English Court by John Southworth
  • Greasepaint Matadors – The Unsung Heroes of Rodeo by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor[7]
  • Grimaldi – King of Clowns by Richard Findlater
  • Grock – King of Clowns by Grock
  • Here Come The Clowns by Lowell Swortzell
  • Jest In Time: A Clown Chronology by Bruce Johnson
  • Life's A Lark by Grock
  • A Ring, A Horse And A Clown by John H. McConnell
  • Russian Clown by Oleg Popov
  • The Tramp Tradition by Bruce Johnson
  • Hammond, J.
  • Woven Gods: Female Clowns and Power in Rotuma (book review)[8]
  • Handelman, D., Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Events[9]
  • Little, K., Clown Performance in the European One-Ring Circus. Culture, 1981. 2(1):61–72.[10]
  • Rudlin, J., Commedia Dell'Arte; An Actors Handbook[11]
  • Angels Can Fly, a Modern Clown User Guide by Alan Clay, Artmedia, ISBN 0-9578844-1-9

Famous Clowns

  • Lowell Swortzell, Here Come the Clowns: A Cavalcade of Comedy from Antiquity To the Present, Publisher: Viking Press, 1978 ISBN 0-670-36874-1
  • Frank Foster and Willan G. Bosworth, Clowning Through Publisher: Heath Cranston LTD London, 1937

Contemporary clowns

  • Circus Report magazine, Graphics 2000. ASIN B00006K8X5
  • Spectacle magazine. Circus Plus Publications. ASIN B00006KXUX

Film clowns

  • Larry Langman, The Encyclopedia of Film Comedy. Publisher: Taylor & Francis, November 1987 ISBN 0-8240-8496-9
  • Walter Kerr, The Silent Clowns. Publisher: Knopf – 1975 ISBN 0-394-46907-0
  • Alan S. Dale, Comedy Is a Man in Trouble: Slapstick in American Movies. Publisher: University of Minnesota Press, 2000 ISBN 0-8166-3657-5

Television clowns

  • Karin Adir, Great Clowns of American Television, Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers – December 2001 ISBN 0-7864-1303-4


  • Stanley Green, The Great Clowns of Broadway. Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA September 1, 1984 ISBN 0-19-503471-6


  1. ^ "Ernie Blinko Burch (1929 – 1997)". Famous Clowns. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  2. ^ Elder, John (2005-04-17). "Big Al, a rider who became a clown". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  3. ^ Alan Clay (2005) Angels Can Fly, a Modern Clown User Guide, Artmedia ISBN 0-9578844-1-9
  4. ^ Bryan Chan (2011-09-14). "Cirque du Soleil performers before and after photos". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  5. ^ Ginia Bellafante (21 August 2005). "A Funny Kind of Love". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Bowers, Paul. "The wisdom and sorrow of Puddles, the clown with the golden voice", Charleston City Paper. (accessed 25 September 2014)
  7. ^ "Las Rocosa Australian Shepherds". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  8. ^ "Woven Gods: Female Clowns and Power in Rotuma". Retrieved 2006-05-20. [dead link]
  9. ^ "MODELS AND MIRRORS Towards an Anthropology of Public Events". Retrieved 2006-05-20. 
  10. ^ "Public anthropology, "Culture 1981"". Retrieved 2006-05-20. 
  11. ^ "Commedia Dell'Arte: An Actor's Handbook (9780415047708): John Rudlin: Books". Retrieved 2012-03-31.