As far as clown archetypes go, you won’t find one more iconic than Bozo The Clown. Big red nose, check. Eyebrow game on fleek, check. Clown pattern baldness, check. WCVB in Boston reports that Frank Avruch, the man who played Bozo The Clown from 1959 through 1970 has died. Frank was more than just a clown. He was also a beloved Boston local celebrity who hosted and appeared on numerous shows on WCVB-TV including Good Day, The Great Entertainment and Man About Town.
According to WCVB-TV:
“I’ve done it all. I’ve done radio, I’ve done TV, I’ve done booth announcing, disc jockey shows … interviews — serious interviews, not-so-serious interviews,” Avruch said in the retrospective.
Frank didn’t create and wasn’t the first to play Bozo, but his portrayal was syndicated for markets that didn’t have their own Bozo making Frank’s Bozo the Bozo of record for millions of Americans. Frank was also a UNICEF ambassador.
“A lot of people when they talk to me now, they are sort of hesitant to bring it up. How could this suave, somewhat sophisticated man be this guy with red-orange hair and big shoes? And I said, that is one of the highlights of my career,” he said.
Frank died of heart disease at the age of 89.
Bozo will be best remembered as the clown that inspired countless children to embrace joy, silliness and laughter and countless others to piss their pants in terror every time they hear a balloon squeak or an “ahooga” horn. Without Bozo there is no Pennywise, Crusty, Ronald McDonald or John Wayne Gacy. Sure there are other kinds of clowns, you’ve got your melodramatic crying Pagliacci type of clowns (see Piddles), you’ve got your tramp/hobo clowns (see Johnny Depp) and you’ve got your creepy hippie clowns (see Wavy Gravy). But Bozo will certainly go down in history as America’s Clown.
True fact: Bozo was so full of magic his face will not render in photographs!
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 22, 2018