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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Clowning around » » Emmett Kelly,Jr. R.I.P. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Scruffy the Clown
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Just to found out Emmett Kelly,Jr. died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, November,29th at the Age of 83, at his home in Tombstone, Az.

Admittedly, I've never really seen him clown-clown. When I met him fifteen years ago, it was at a bookstore autographing his figurines. Nonetheless, I was a huge fan of his fathers work. So I guess meeting him let me hang around some of the Kelly DNA. EKJ was still admired by many (Me included) so I thought I'd let the Café know.

RIP, Emmet. May all your days be circus days.
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Inner circle
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Thanks for the notice Scruffy.

He was special and will certainly be missed.

Skip Way
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For those who may not know, Emmett Kelly, Jr. was the son of famed Ringling & Broadway clown, Emmett Kelly. Father and son were reportedly estranged due to the son's alleged unauthorized duplication of the senior Kelly's "Weary Willie" clown character and the "theft" of various senior Kelley routines, including his famous Spotlight Sweeping pantomime. Stories differ on this issue, depending on which biography you read. While the two characters were quite similar, the younger Kelly claimed that his father gave his blessing for the use of his Weary Willie routines and the younger tramp character was "less sad" and therefore unique.

The senior Kelly passed on March 28, 1979 at his home in Sarasota, FL at the age of 80. He is interred in Rest Haven Memorial Park in Lafayette, IN.

Emmett, Jr. was a decorated WWII Naval veteran having served aboard ships involved in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa landings.

In 1972, he formed the The Emmett Kelly, Jr. Circus and traveled across the U.S.. His is reportedly the only circus to have performed twice on the grounds of the White House. His circus was also featured in two live star-studded network television broadcasts from Las Vegas in the 70's.

Emmett Kelly, Jr. was probably best known for his wide merchandising brand featuring the tramp clown character on toys and collectible figurines, paintings and jewelry. If memory serves, he once had extensive Kodak and Coca Cola campaigns built around his clown character.

His licensed products include:

BACHMANN TRAINS - Electric G Scale Circus Trains.

CHECKS IN THE MAIL - Checks, checkbook covers, stationary sets, post-it notes.

CLOWNS "N" CASES - paper mache lamps.

E.M.I. - Bronze Sculptures

FLAMBRO IMPORTS - Figurines, lithographs, Little Emmett figurines, Christmas ornaments, minitures, water globes.

SUE POETEETE - Original Oil Paintings, Fine Art Reproductions

RON LEE'S WORLD OF CLOWNS - Limited edition, hand painted, pweter sculptures.

RUSTY - Limited Edition Oil Paintings by D.Rusty Rust

ROGER AND BARBARA LAFFERTY - Photographic and fine art images and prints

SUNS OUT - Contemporary Jigsaw Puzzles including two great designs of Emmett.

WATKINS DESIGNS - 14K gold and silver pendents, pins, earrings, and braclets, watches and clocks.

He was a lifetime and very generous sponsor for The Make A Wish Foundation, The American Cancer Society, Save The Children Foundation, and FACES--The National Association for the Craniofacially Handicapped.

For anyone interested, Yahoo Groups hosts an Emmett Kelly, Jr. fan & collectors site at

How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh -
Southwest Sam
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Sad to see another Great one go. Thanks Scruff for bringing it to my attention. Might have to make a post at the Depot and let all the Hobo Clowns there know too.

I too met EKJ back in '92 and he inspired me to become a Tramp/Hobo Clown. From that moment on, I owed it all to meeting him.

Thanks Again.

~SAM Smile
Now performing as...
-Suitcase Sam
& his Ukulele
Music ~ Comedy ~ Magic
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Profile of Regan
Sad indeed. Thanks Scruffy for letting us know, and thanks Skip for all the great info.

R.I.P. Emmett Kelly, Jr.

Mister Mystery
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