Emmett Kelly, Sr.

by Careful the Clown
(Ohio)

Emmett Kelly, Sr. as

Emmett Kelly, Sr. as

I believe Emmett Kelly Sr. to be the worlds most famous clown. Emmett Kelly performed in the circus and was an artist that used chalk to help tell his stories. Emmett had several clown characters in his career including a whiteface for a period of time. The character that has influenced my own clowning 'persona' is the one Emmett created called "Weary Willie" This sad faced hobo is the clown character that made Emmett Famous.


Emmett published his memoirs in a book titled "Clown" in 1954 and was inducted into the hall of fame in 1989.



I do a little tribute piece at parties where I balance a peacock feather on my nose and begin to juggle... I drop a ball and stoop down and hunt blindly for it while still balancing the feather... when I can find the ball by feel, then I look down and pick up the ball... everyone sees that the feather was stuck on my nose... Emmett did this... I also like how he use to walk around the ring nibbling on a head of cabbage and make love eyes at a "refined" lady in the crowd!

In my eyes Emmett will always be the world's most famous clown.

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Careful the Clown



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Emmett Kelly
by: Terry Awald

In my opinion it is Emmett Kelly.

Emmett Kelly touch the hearts of people of all ages. He was not to scary for the children to look at and the adults loved his character of the down and out person because at on time or another in ones life they could relate.

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Sad Face
by: Anonymous

As a Baby Boomer we all grew up with Emmet Kelly and his sad face is in so many clown paintings. I remember Red Skelton imitating his sad face.

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Emmett Kelly
by: Byron - San Antonio, TX

The original.

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Weary Willie
by: Anthony - New Zealand

Weary Willie, as portrayed by Emmett Kelly Sr., was the greatest clown ever. His ability to communicate and engage with the audience, without speaking, was ledgendary. He could emote so well that you couldn't help but simpathise with him. There will never be another like him.

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I Remember Emmett
by: Dean Shapiro, New Orleans

I remember seeing Emmett Kelly Senior with his sad face and ragged clothes with the Ringling Brothers Circus at the old Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey when I was about 8 or 9 years old (circa 1958/1959).

He was walking around the seating section with a sledgehammer smashing peanuts on the metal support posts and eating them and passing them out to the kids. I don't recall getting any of those peanuts and, if I had, I would probably have saved them until this day, but he was pretty close to us. I don't remember anything else he did (this was more than 50 years ago) but it was one of those great childhood memories of going to the circus with my mother.

Also in that same circus was Clyde Beatty, the great lion-tamer and The Great Somebody-Or-Other (can't remember the name) who was shot out of a cannon at the circus conclusion.

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