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Wheeler the Clown Wheeler the CLOWN               Presents A CLOWN Biography:


Lou Jacobs


"Lou Jacobs "


 Jacob "Lou Jacobs" Ludwig was born in Wesermude, Bremerhaven, Germany.


Seven-year-old Jacob "Lou Jacobs" Ludwig made his acting debut as an alligator's hindquarters in a German vaudeville variety act, beginning a career in show business that would eventually lead to his induction into both the Circus Hall of Fame and the Clown Hall of Fame.


Jacob "Lou Jacobs" Ludwig saw his first clown act and joined a small German circus as a clown.


Jacob "Lou Jacobs" Ludwig appeared as a double contortionist with partner and straight man, Michael Morris.


Jacob "Lou Jacobs" Ludwig entered the United States, performing as a contortionist and tumbler at fairs and in Vaudeville.


Lou performed with the Morris and Morris Circus, as a tumbler.


Lou joined Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Baily Circus, as a tumbler and contortionist.


Lou Jacobs

Lou Jacobs was given a job as a clown for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus  by John Ringling, who recognized Lou's natural comic abilities.


Lou, both German Lou Jacobsborn and Jewish, entertained a group of 37 children who were survivors of the Holocaust's Nazi death camps. Lou accomplished the seemingly impossible by bringing smiles and laughter to this special audience, proving again the power of laughter as a healing medicine.


Lou Jacobs and his mini CarLou created his most famous clown prop, a miniature car from which he would emerge in center ring, to the delight of the audience, young and old. The car was a mere 2x3 feet, and Lou was 6 feet 1 inch tall; a testimonial to his incredible contortionist talents.  (click on picture to enlarge)


In Sarasota, Florida, Cecil B. DeMille began production of the Academy award winning film The Lou Jacobs James Stewart as Buttons the Clown Greatest Show on Earth, featuring real circus performers and acts from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Lou not only performed a couple of funny routines in the movie and was given the choice assignment of teaching James Stewart (who played Buttons the clown, above left) the art of clowning. (In fact, Stewart wore Lou's famous head extension in the movie.)


Lou JacobsThe US Postal Service unveiled a postage stamp bearing the clown face of Lou Jacobs. Perhaps because it is a clown face, the Postal Service went against its own policy of only honoring deceased persons on a stamp. 


Lou Jacob's clowning partner Lou Jacobs and Knuckleheadof 14 years, a performing chihuahua  named Knucklehead died. (click on picture to enlarge) Whether donning an mini elephant trunk or fake rabbit ears, Knucklehead had been a vital part of Lou's act and life, and was mourned and sorely missed.


Lou JacobsIncreasing health problems caused Lou to retire from the rigors of the performing clown. At this time, he continued to teach at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College


Lou Jacobs Lou was included in the first group of Clown Hall of Fame inductees. Sadly commenting on his deceased friends who were inducted that year (Emmett Kelly Sr. and Otto Griebling), Lou said, "It looks like I'm the Last Of The Mohicans."  

Lou was also inducted into the Circus Hall of Fame that year.   



Lou's continually declining health forced him to retire from Lou Jacobsteaching at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. Lou just couldn't stay away though. He continued to visit the college as often as he could.

1992 Lou Jacobs

Jacob "Lou Jacobs" Ludwig died.

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     This Page was updated on: 08/13/2004