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Emmett Kelly Sr. Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

EMMETT KELLY SR.
Born: December 9, 1898 in Sedan, Kansas
Died: March 28, 1979 in Sarasota, Florida
Biography | show moreshow less
Emmett Lee Kelly (1898-1979) began his circus career, which spanned 55 years, after a starting out as a cartoonist. First performing as a trapeze artist, he later went into clowning, creating his most famous character, "Weary Willie", from a cartoon character he had drawn years earlier. In 1942, Kelly joined the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus, where he would star until 1956 (one of his most famous routines was "sweeping the spotlight"). In 1957, he joined the Shrine Circus and settled in Florida (Sarasota is the winter home of the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus). Kelly, America's most famous clown, continued appearing in commercials and performed in special shows until he was 80. His son, Emmett Kelly, Jr. (1923-2006), followed successfully in his father's footsteps and rivaled his fame, forming his own Emmett Kelly, Jr. Circus in 1972.
Film Credits | show moreshow less

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