Emmett was an artist before he joined the circus. He performed for royalty of the world; Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill and Harry Truman. Kelly also appeared in Broadway plays, on TV and in the movies. In 1956 he clowned with the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team.


In 1957 he joined the Shrine Circus. He settled in Florida and continued appearing in commercials and on special shows until he was eighty. He died on March 28, 1979


Emmett Kelly is one of the most recognizable modern clowns. He was born in Sedan,

Kansas in 1898


He started in the circus as an acrobat, but from the beginning his heart was in clowning. Between acrobatic turns, he clowned. Slowly, Kelly developed the tramp clown personality, Weary Willie. Willie was loved by circus audiences from the 1930 right up to 1979, when he died.

Willie was best loved when he stumbled into the ring alone with his battered broom. There he tried to sweep the spotlight off the floor. It flitted out of reach. He chased it. Then suddenly it was chasing him.

The sad hobo would finally manage to sweep it under the rug. Then it would pop back out and scare him. The chase would

be on again.