Graveyard Shift

List of Famous Clowns

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Updated August 8, 2017 250.1k views 106 items

This list of famous clowns includes photos, bios, and other information, when available. Who are the top clowns in the world? While most clowns don't intend to scare, these reasons why kids hate clowns might bring back some childhood fears. This list includes the most prominent clowns, living and dead, both from America and abroad. This list of notable clowns and clown names is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these popular clowns were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but they're all regarded as famous clowns in history and today.

No clown names list would be complete without the likes of Willard Scott, Red Skelton, Bill Irwin, and more. Did you know serial killer John Wayne Gacy had a career as a clown as well? Famous circus clowns, famous TV clowns, and others are full of surprises.

From reputable, prominent, old, and well known clowns to funny clown names you might not have heard of, these are some of the funniest famous clown names int the business. You'll even find a few female clown names on this list! So, who are the most famous clowns ever? What are the names of famous clowns? This list has them all, with French, Italian, and other world famous clowns for your amusement.

1
Bill Irwin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Age: 68

Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States of America

William Mills Irwin (born April 11, 1950) is an American actor, clown, and comedian. He began as a vaudeville-style stage performer and has been noted for his contribution to the renaissance of ...more
2
John Wayne Gacy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 52 (1942-1994)

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

John Wayne Gacy (March 17, 1942 – May 10, 1994) was an American serial killer who raped, tortured and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, ...more

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3
Emmett Kelly is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 81 (1898-1979)

Birthplace: Sedan, Kansas, United States of America

Emmett Leo Kelly (December 9, 1898 – March 28, 1979) was an American circus performer, who created the memorable clown figure "Weary Willie", based on the hobos of the Depression era.
4
Red Skelton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 84 (1913-1997)

Birthplace: Vincennes, Indiana, United States of America

Richard Bernard Eheart (July 18, 1913 – September 17, 1997) professionally known as Red Skelton was an American comedy entertainer. He was best known for his national radio and television acts ...more

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5
Soupy Sales is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 83 (1926-2009)

Birthplace: Franklinton, North Carolina, United States of America

Milton Supman (January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009), known professionally as Soupy Sales, was an American comedian, actor, radio/television personality, and jazz aficionado. He was best known for ...more

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6
Grock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Grock Dec. at 79 (1880-1959)

Birthplace: Loveresse, Switzerland

Grock (January 10, 1880 – July 14, 1959), born Charles Adrien Wettach, was a Swiss clown, composer and musician. Called "the king of clowns" and "the greatest of Europe's ...more
7
Bob Keeshan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 77 (1927-2004)

Birthplace: Lynbrook, New York, United States of America

Robert James Keeshan (June 27, 1927 – January 23, 2004) was an American television producer and actor. He created and played the title role in the children's television program Captain Kangaroo, ...more
8
Joseph Grimaldi is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Joseph Grimaldi Dec. at 59 (1778-1837)

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

Joseph Grimaldi (18 December 1778 – 31 May 1837) was an English actor, comedian and dancer, who became the most popular English entertainer of the Regency era. In the early 1800s, he expanded ...more
9
W. C. Fields is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 66 (1880-1946)

Birthplace: Darby, Pennsylvania, United States of America

William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880 – December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler, and writer. Fields' comic persona was a misanthropic and ...more

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10
Dimitri is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dimitri Age: 83

Birthplace: Ascona, Switzerland

Dimitri Jakob Muller (September 18, 1935 – July 19, 2016), known as Dimitri was a Swiss clown and mime artist. He later changed his name to Jakob Dimitri.
11
Otto Griebling is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Otto Griebling Dec. at 76 (1896-1972)

Birthplace: Koblenz, Germany

Otto Griebling (April 28, 1896 – April 19, 1972) was a German-born circus clown who performed for many years with the Cole Brothers and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circuses. He was ...more
12
Michael Goudeau is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Age: 59

Birthplace: Louisiana, United States of America

Michael Carey Goudeau (born May 11, 1959) is a juggler and an ex-circus clown who graduated from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. He is a writer and was an executive ...more
13
Chester Conklin is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 85 (1886-1971)

Birthplace: Oskaloosa, USA, Iowa

Chester Cooper Conklin (January 11, 1886 – October 11, 1971) was an early American film comedian who started at Keystone Studios as one of Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops, often paired with Mack ...more
14
Wavy Gravy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Age: 82

Birthplace: East Greenbush, New York, United States of America

Hugh Nanton Romney (born May 15, 1936) — known as Wavy Gravy — is an American entertainer and activist for peace best known for his role at Woodstock, as well as for his hippie persona and ...more
15
Bud Abbott is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 79 (1895-1974)

Birthplace: USA, Asbury Park, New Jersey

William Alexander "Bud" Abbott (October 2, 1897 – April 24, 1974) was an American actor, best known for his film comedy double act, as straight man to Lou Costello. Groucho Marx ...more

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16
Avner the Eccentric is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Age: 70

Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

Avner Eisenberg "Avner the Eccentric" (born August 26, 1948) is an American vaudeville performer, clown, mime, juggler, and sleight of hand magician. John Simon described him in 1984 ...more
17
Oleg Popov is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Oleg Popov Age: 88

Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

Oleg Konstantinovich Popov (Russian: Олег Константинович Попoв, 31 July 1930 – 2 November 2016) was a Soviet and Russian clown and circus artist. People's Artist of the USSR (1969).
18
Bob Bell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 75 (1922-1997)

Birthplace: Flint, Michigan, United States of America

Robert Lewis Bell (January 18, 1922 – December 8, 1997), better known as Bob Bell, was an American announcer and actor famous for his alter-ego, Bozo the Clown. He was the original portrayer of ...more
19
Pinto Colvig is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 75 (1892-1967)

Birthplace: Jacksonville, Oregon, United States of America

Vance DeBar Colvig Sr. (September 11, 1892 – October 3, 1967), professionally Pinto Colvig, was an American vaudeville actor, voice actor, newspaper cartoonist and circus performer, whose ...more
20
Yuri Nikulin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 76 (1921-1997)

Birthplace: Demidov, Smolensk Oblast, Russia

Yuri Vladimirovich Nikulin (Russian: Юрий Владимирович Никулин; 18 December 1921 – 21 August 1997) was a well-known Soviet and Russian actor and clown who starred in many popular films. He was ...more
21
Jim Allen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Jim Allen
Jim Allen is a television producer.
22
Lou Jacobs is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 89 (1903-1992)

Birthplace: Bremerhaven, Germany

Johann Ludwig Jacob (January 1, 1903 – September 13, 1992), professionally known as Lou Jacobs, was a German-born American auguste clown who performed for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ...more
23
Willard Scott is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Age: 84

Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America

Willard Herman Scott Jr. (born March 7, 1934) is an American weather presenter, author, television personality, actor, clown, comedian and radio personality, best known for his TV work on the ...more
24
Arisa is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Age: 36

Birthplace: Genoa, Italy

Rosalba Pippa (born 20 August 1982), better known by her stage name Arisa, is an Italian singer and actress.
25
Achille Zavatta is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Famous Clowns
Dec. at 78 (1915-1993)

Birthplace: Tunisia

Achille Zavatta (6 May 1915 – 16 November 1993) was a French clown, artist and circus operator. Achille Zavatta was born in La Goulette, Tunisia, the son of Federico Zavatta, a circus owner. He ...more