RIP, Larry Harmon

Thanks to Pat Cashin’s Clownalley.net for the heads up.

Larry Harmon, the licensor of Bozo the Clown died Thursday due to congestive heart failure.

Say what you will about Bozo, but Larry Harmon was personally responsible for entertaining millions of children.he entertained MILLIONS of children over the years. And that makes him a giant in my book.

RIP, Bozo!

Larry Harmon, who turned the character Bozo the Clown into a show business staple that delighted children for more than a half-century, died Thursday of congestive heart failure. He was 83.

His publicist, Jerry Digney, told The Associated Press he died at his home.

Although not the original Bozo, Harmon portrayed the popular clown in countless appearances and, as an entrepreneur, he licensed the character to others, particularly dozens of television stations around the country. The stations in turn hired actors to be their local Bozos.

“You might say, in a way, I was cloning BTC (Bozo the Clown) before anybody else out there got around to cloning DNA,” Harmon told the AP in a 1996 interview.

“Bozo is a combination of the wonderful wisdom of the adult and the childlike ways in all of us,” Harmon said.

Pinto Colvig, who also provided the voice for Walt Disney’s Goofy, originated Bozo the Clown when Capitol Records introduced a series of children’s records in 1946. Harmon would later meet his alter ego while answering a casting call to make personal appearances as a clown to promote the records.

He got that job and eventually bought the rights to Bozo. Along the way, he embellished Bozo’s distinctive look: the orange-tufted hair, the bulbous nose, the outlandish red, white and blue costume.

“I felt if I could plant my size 83AAA shoes on this planet, (people) would never be able to forget those footprints,” he said.

Read the rest of the article on the NY Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/04/arts/television/04bozo.html

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