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Emmett Kelly as 'Weary Willie'Emmett Kelly - Professional circus clown whose character Weary Willie - a sad-faced Depression-inspired hobo character with tattered clothes, red nose, greasepaint beard and white mouth - was popular with generations of circus-goers and a major attraction at Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. Emmett's most popular skit featured Weary Willie chasing a patch of sunlight with an old broom as he swept up the floor.

In addition to Emmett Kelly's circus career, he also appeared in the movies The Fat Man (1951) and The Greatest Show On Earth (1952) and the television series THE BOB CROSBY SHOW/NBC/1958 (seen at the opening and closing o the program); THE DUPONT SHOW OF THE WEEK/NBC/1961-64 (narrated a documentary on the popularity of the circus); and TELEPHONE TIME/CBS/ABC/1956-58 (made dramatic debut in a story entitled "Captain from Koepnick").

In 1957, Kelly left the circus to work as a mascot for the Brooklyn Dodgers and later performed in television commercials and nightclub acts. Kelly was also a talented artist.

Kelly's 'Weary Willie' character was  marketed as dolls, circus posters, record albums, postcards, and a series of porcelain figurines. His face even appeared on the 1966 five-cent postage stamp commemorating the American Circus.

Born December 9, 1898 in Sedan, Kansas, Emmett Kelly, Sr., died March 28, 1979 of a heart attack in Sarasota. Florida. He was buried in LaFayette, Indiana in a site near his mother.

The Emmett Kelly Museum in downtown Sedan, Kansas pays tribute to his 50 year career as a cartoonist and clown. See also - "Clarabell the Clown"


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