Larry Harmon

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Larry Harmon
Lawrence Weiss

(1925-01-02)January 2, 1925
DiedJuly 3, 2008(2008-07-03) (aged 83)
Known forBozo the Clown
Children4, including Jeff B. Harmon

Lawrence Weiss (January 2, 1925 – July 3, 2008), better known by the stage name Larry Harmon and as his alter ego Bozo the Clown, was an American entertainer.[1] Weiss had four children, including filmmaker Jeff Harmon.


Harmon was born to Jewish parents in Toledo, Ohio and raised in Cleveland. During World War II, he served as a private in the Army. On returning, he wanted to become a doctor, until he met entertainer Al Jolson. According to Harmon's autobiography, The Man Behind the Nose, Jolson told him, "Being a doctor of medicine is honorable, but you'll touch so many more lives as a doctor of laughter!"[2] Harmon instead attended the University of Southern California, where he majored in theater and performed in the Spirit of Troy marching band.[1]

Harmon began making the first of thousands of appearances as Bozo the Clown after attending a casting call in the late 1940s.[3] In 1957, Harmon purchased the licensing rights to the Bozo character from Capitol Records, who had promoted the character on its children’s albums as “Bozo the Capitol Clown”, and marketed the property aggressively. By the late 1950s, Harmon had licensed local Bozo TV shows in nearly every major U.S. market, as well as in other countries.[4] He also produced a series of Bozo animated cartoons intended to be shown with the live-action show, performing Bozo's voice himself.

Harmon's animation studio also produced eighteen Popeye The Sailor cartoons in 1960 as part of a larger TV syndication package.

In 1961, Harmon bought the merchandising rights to the likenesses of Laurel and Hardy.[5] Five years later, he promoted a Laurel and Hardy TV cartoon short series called A Laurel and Hardy Cartoon, animated by Hanna-Barbera Productions. Harmon performed Stan Laurel’s voice in that series along with Jim MacGeorge as Hardy. In 1999, Harmon coproduced and codirected a live-action feature, The All New Adventures of Laurel & Hardy in For Love or Mummy, starring Bronson Pinchot as Laurel and Gailard Sartain as Hardy. Intended as the first of a series, it was released direct-to-video and no sequels were made.

In 1984 Harmon stood as a write-in candidate in the presidential election with the aim of encouraging people to vote.[6][7] Only Arizona reported the number of votes he received, 21.[8] The total number of U.S. write-in votes was 19,315 or 0.02 percent of the vote.

On New Year's Day 1996, Harmon dressed as Bozo for the first time in 10 years, appearing in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.[9]

He wrote an autobiography titled The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales, published in 2010 by Igniter Books. One of Harmon's alleged ex-wives disputed the memoir's veracity.[10]

Harmon died of congestive heart failure in his home in Los Angeles, California, on July 3, 2008.[11] He is buried in Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

He was married four times, and had four children: filmmaker Jeff Harmon, and three daughters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dennis McLellan, Larry Harmon, 83; entrepreneur made Bozo the Clown a star, Los Angeles Times, July 4, 2008.
  2. ^ "The Man Behind the Nose Book Description at". Archived from the original on 2010-08-24. Retrieved 2010-08-18.
  3. ^ Manning, Sue (March 3, 1996). "Big time Bozo". The Journal Times (Racine, Wisconsin). Associated Press. p. E1. Retrieved July 11, 2022 – via
  4. ^ "Bozo the Clown: The Unusual History of Bozo the Clown". Archived from the original on 2014-09-09. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
  5. ^ "Letters From Stan-May 1961". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  6. ^ Forgotten Newsmakers website
  7. ^ Kathryn Andrews: Run For President, an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago of artworks by Kathryn Andrews inspired by the event.
  8. ^ Official resultes
  9. ^ Rogers, John (July 4, 2008). "Larry Harmon, longtime Bozo the Clown, dead at 83". San Francisco: Hearst Communications. Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  10. ^ McKay, Hollie (August 24, 2010). "Did Bozo the Clown Tell Lies and Sleep Around?". Fox News. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  11. ^ "Larry Harmon, Who Popularized Bozo, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Associated Press. July 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-05.

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