Larry Harmon, whose shrewd merchandising skills made him both a popular children’s entertainer and the richest clown in the world, has passed on as a result of congestive heart failure at the age of 83. He died at home, according to his publicist, Jerry Digney.
The story of Harmon’s success into making Bozo the Clown a household name can be read here in an October 2007 post I composed at the old Thrilling Days of Yesteryear site at Salon. In addition to his entrepreneurship of Bozo, he also made a significant pile of clown clash by merchandising the likenesses of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy—keeping their memory alive for a generation that just as soon could have forgotten them.
I’ve heard as many individuals criticize Harmon as praise him, and while I have mixed feelings about the man I can certainly attest to this: he made my niece Rachel laugh fit to beat the band. I like to think that counts for something in the long run.
R.I.P., Mr. Harmon. Here’s hoping you continue to entertain in the afterlife’s center ring.