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Lou Jacobs
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Clown
    (January 1, 1903-September 13, 1992)
    Born in Bremerhaven, Germany
    Birth name was Johann Ludwig Jacob
    Performed with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (1924-88)
    Credited with popularizing the clown car
    Teacher at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College (1968-91)
    He began performing on stage at seven as part of his parents' song and dance act.
    Ironically for a future clown, his first gig on arriving in the US was as straight man in a comedy act (1923).
    One of the first times he drove the clown car, his extra-large shoes blocked his sight, causing him to run into another clown. That accident broke the steering column causing another collision with the center ring stage. The car was so badly damaged, he could not get out and had to be freed with a hacksaw backstage (1947).
    He trained as an acrobat and contortionist. (The latter skill being particularly useful in getting his 6'1 frame into a two foot tall clown car.)
    He trained James Stewart in clowning for the film 'The Greatest Show on Earth.' (1952)
    He was one of the few living people to appear on a US postage stamp when his likeness was featured on a stamp commemorating the circus (1966).
    He was one of the six inaugural inductess into the Clown Hall of Fame (1989).

Credit: C. Fishel


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