Wheeler the Clown Wheeler the CLOWN               Presents A CLOWN Biography:



Bob "Bozo the Clown" Bell


"Bozo the Clown"

(Note: All Pictures on this page, unless otherwise noted are courtesty of WGN-TV)


Robert (Bob) Lewis "Bozo" Bell was born in Michigan.


Bob BellBob memorized eye charts so that, although almost blind in one eye, he could pass the physical examination and become a Marine. He succeeded, but shortly thereafter received a medical discharge. He was then accepted into the Navy.  


Bob BellBob Bell was discharged from the Navy and joined a small theater group. He left the group a short time later to accept a position with radio station WMRP, in his home town of Flint Michigan, beginning a career in broadcasting that spanned four states.

Alan Livingston and BozoAlan W. Livingston, who would one day receive the Clown Hall of Fame Lifetime of Laughter Achievement Award, created the Bozo the Clown character (which Bob would later make famous), for children's recordings and small books, the first being a record entitled Bozo and the Circus. The name came from the tradition of circuses calling clowns Bozos. Bozo needed a voice so Livingston hired a former circus clown, Pinto Colvig, to portray Bozo on the recordings and at promotional appearances. Colvig was the original voice of many of Walt Disney's creations (i.e. Goofy, Pluto, Grumpy, and Sleepy) and other animated characters.


The comedy team of Bob Bell and Wally Phillips were hired by WGN-TV (Chicago). The comedy team starred in Bob Bella number of variety shows (i.e. The Wally Phillips Show and Midnight Ticker) .before Bob (right) would be cast as Bozo the Clown, a role that would lead to several Emmy awards and his induction into the Clown Hall of Fame.


In what was most likely his first "disguised" television role, Bob Bell as "Andy Starr" Bob Bell portrayed an elderly theater custodian, Andy Starr, the host of WGN-TV’s Three Stooges weekday afternoon showcase.


Bob Bell as Bozo the Clown Bob Bell was given the role of Bozo the Clown for WGN-TV in Chicago. (WGN-TV aired the longest running Bozo show in history). He became the most famous and perhaps the most beloved portrayers of the character to date.  


Bozo's Circus Bozo the Clown starring Bob Bell (WGN-TV) received its first Emmy award. (It won the Emmy again in 1965.)


Roy "Cooky the Cook" BrownRoy Brown first appeared as Cooky Cook on WGN-TV's Bozo's Circus television show. He experimented with about 60 different clown characters before settling on Cooky's costume and makeup. The role of Cooky led to Roy's selection as a Clown Hall of Fame inductee. Prior to this role, he had served other functions at WGN and on Bozo's Circus, such as a puppeteer and a writer.  (Picture courtesy of the International Clown Hall of Fame)

Bozo the ClownThis same year Bob "Bozo" Bell was hospitalized for surgery due to a brain aneurysm. While Bob was recuperating, he participated in Bozo's Circus via telephone.


Bob "Bozo" Bell in original red suit Bob Bell as Bozo the ClownBob received his own Emmy award for his portrayal of Bozo the Clown. This was also the year of a major change in Bob's "Bozo" costume. It was changed from red to blue.  


Bob Bell as Bozo the Clown WGN-TV began to broadcast via satellite, and Bob Bell's Bozo the Clown became a familiar face to children and adults throughout the United States.  


Bob Bell as Bozo the ClownBob "Bozo" Bell, was given the Governors' Award, the highest honor of the Chicago Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Board of Directors.  


Bob Bell as Bozo the Clown Bob Bell (left) retired from portraying Bozo the Clown - Joey D'AuriaBozo the Clown  on WGN-TV, Chicago. At this time, The Bozo Show was number one in its local time slot. After a three month talent search, Joey D'Auria (right) was chosen to take over the role of Bozo, and remained in that role until the show's sad demise in 2001.


Roy "Cooky the Cook" BrownBob Bell as Bozo the ClownBob "Bozo" Bell and his former sidekick, Roy "Cooky" Brown, were both hospitalized with heart problems. 

          Bill "Boom-Boom" Bailey               Bob Bell as Bozo the Clown               Bert Austin Williams            Jackie LeClaire

 Boom-Boom          Bob as Bozo                Bert                  Jackie


Bob was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame along with Bill "BOOM-BOOM" Baily, Bob "BOZO" Bell, Bert Austin Williams, and Jackie LeClaire. Citing  the excuse that Bell was no longer portraying Bozo on television, Larry Harmon would not allow him to attend the induction ceremony in costume and makeup. Bob is thus the only inductee displayed out of character in the Hall of Fame.


Bob Bell's ObituaryBob "Bozo" Bell died of heart failure. (click on picture for larger view)


Bob Bell as Bozo the ClownTo honor their deceased favorite son the City of Chicago and State of Illinois proclaimed April 18, 1998 Bob Bell Day. The Chicago City Council renamed one of the city's streets Bob Bell Way.

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     This Page was updated on: 08/12/2004