Enrico Caruso plays the tormented clown Canio in
Pagliacci, while not really known for his bright and chipper nature as other clowns are known for, seemed to have started the idea of clowns with a dark side.
Though Edgar Allan Poe's "Hop-Frog" showed a deranged comic first, Pagliacci popularized the concept of the "sad clown" and set a precedent for characters of that type to appear in literature, film, and other forms of art. He shows that clowns can have flaws, and that some of the friendliest people on Earth have feelings, too.
Sure, he's not the most recognizeable clown, and many people may not even be familiar with his name. However, it is his influence that makes this sorry jester one of the most famous clowns of all time.