Larry "Bozo" Harmon
He left the world a happier place than when he came into it. This is the wonderful legacy of Larry Harmon, the man known and loved by children and adults everywhere as Bozo the Clown.
With his flaming red wings of hair, bulbous nose, enormous ruby smile, and signature yuh-yuh-yuh-yuh chuckle, Bozo was not only the archetypical clown, but also perhaps the only full-grown adult who understood children.
Larry "Bozo" Harmon
Shortly before his death in 2008, Harmon finished writing his biography, The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales. Together with writer Thomas Scott McKenzie, Harmon tells the inspiring, touching, and unique story of his life.
The book vividly recounts his childhood in Cleveland and how, as a young man, Al Jolson told Harmon that he was destined to become a world-famous entertainer. By 1963, President Kennedy called personally to name him as an international ambassador for safety.
But his journey is also full of stories you would never expect: of choreographing a dance routine with Fred Astaire; of training for space flights; of searching for the cannibals of New Guinea; and even, of surviving two assassination attempts.
With vivid immediacy and captivating humor, he shares how he set out to transcend the traditional boundaries of "Clowndom" and succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
Along with hard work and perseverance, Harmon credits his fearless attitude and relentless optimism. “It’s not that I’m naïve or unrealistic about the challenges in life,” he attested. “Rather, it’s just that I’m convinced there is always a way.”
Like Forrest Gump, Harmon’s life is an epic, comic odyssey through some of the most important decades of our nation’s history, filled with unbelievable characters, tall tales, and incredible coincidences—only Harmon’s story is true. THE MAN BEHIND THE NOSE spotlights Harmon’s greatest feats, including:
- His establishing a "Bozo boot camp” where he trained an array of protégés — from an Australian priest and a San Diego Boxer to television personality Willard Scott — to portray the World’s Most Famous Clown.
“People may have cultural, economic, and political differences, but at the core of our being, we really are all the same...
Joy, laughter, and human bonding — the tools we use to relate to one another — are as universal as a head, hands, and feet.”
—Larry “Bozo” Harmon
- How he ventured, in full Bozo regalia complete with size 38-AAA shoes, into the dreaded jungles of New Guinea and befriended a genuine cannibal king.
- His deep-sea diving escapades with the U.S. Navy, his training with the New York City Fire Department (where he braved a four-story fall from a burning building), and his outer space experience courtesy of an official NASA ride into zero gravity.
- His 1984 campaign for President, during which he survived two assassination attempts.
- And many more.
Throughout these astounding adventures the indomitable spirit of Larry “Bozo” Harmon shines bright. He was the bridge between the age of vaudeville and the Big Top to the television era of suburban America, and from Ronald McDonald to Krusty the Clown, every clown who followed him owed something to him. There is never a frown behind the smile—just another smile, another laugh, another story. THE MAN BEHIND THE NOSE is his story. It's 'The Incredible Real-Life Adventures and Inspirational Philosophy of the World’s Most Famous Clown!'
About the Author
Larry “Bozo” Harmon produced some 50,000 hours of local and international live children’s television shows. He is best-known for his fifty-year run as the driving force behind “Bozo the World’s Most Famous Clown.” After purchasing the rights to the character, Harmon spread Bozo to almost 200 television stations all over the globe. In 1996, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded him a special outstanding achievement award. Larry Harmon passed away on July 3, 2008.
Thomas Scott McKenzie’s work has appeared in Tin House, Stuff, Paste, Sync, and Premier Guitar, among many other places. McKenzie runs Slushpile.net, an online resource and blog for writers.
The Man Behind the Nose:
Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales