R.I.P: Bozo the Clown, Jesse the Racist 

Larry Harmon, the man who popularized the show business character Bozo the Clown, has died of congestive heart failure at the age of 83.

Harmon did not create the flame-haired character, but played him in numerous appearances over the years.

He purchased the copyright in the 1950s and licensed the character to others, including TV stations across the U.S.

Also passing this week was former North Carolina senator, Jesse Helms, 87. Helms was noted for his opposition to integration, civil rights for African Americans, modern art, AIDS research and treatment, gay rights, foreign aid that included "family planning," and for wanting to make Senator Carol Moseley Braun cry by singing "Dixie" in the Senate elevator.

Trailing in a tough re-election fight in 1990 against a black opponent, Harvey Gantt, Helms produced a campaign ad in which a pair of hands belonging to a white job-seeker crumpled a rejection slip as an announcer explained that the job had been given to an unqualified minority candidate. Helms won the election.

Bozo will be missed.

--Bruce VanWyngarden

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Twenty Years On

      It’s time to Invest in “Paz Colombia.”
    • Formula For Growth

      Shelby County can help fight crime by altering the Pinch district TIF.

Blogs

News Blog

Hurricane 901

Music Blog

Listen Up: Nathan McHenry

News Blog

Rate Changes to Come for Metered Parking Downtown

Intermission Impossible

The Winners for the 2017 High School Musical Theatre Awards

Hungry Memphis

Ghost River's Grindhouse Headed to a Can Near You

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

The Lovers

Music Blog

The Restoration of John Gary Williams

News Blog

MLGW and UPS Receive Sustainability Award

ADVERTISEMENT

More by John Branston

  • Pit Stops

    Ten BBQ joints worth a day trip from Memphis.
    • May 16, 2013
  • Where Do We Go From Here? | School Choice

    Modest voter turnouts notwithstanding, next week’s referendum is key to the schools’ future.
    • Mar 3, 2011
  • Great Deal or "Get Real"?

    Condos go for half-price in a unique Mindtown neighborhood.
    • Jul 28, 2010
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • A Letter to the Memphis City Council

    The council gets an “F” for its performance on the Greensward decision.
    • Mar 10, 2016
  • Memphis’ Central Park

    The Memphis Zoo/Overton Park controversy is really about the right of Memphians to craft their environment.
    • Feb 4, 2016
  • Damned Statistics

    The remarkable national decline in crime rates has not skipped Memphis.
    • Dec 3, 2015
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation