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Circus Clown Lou Jacobs

Lou Jacobs

Jan. 1, 1903 – Sept. 13, 1992

Lou Jacobs Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus 1948
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Lou Jacobs
Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey Circus
Los Angeles September 1948
Circus Clown Lou Jacobs 7
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Lou Jacobs and Harry Dann
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Circus Trivia, Did You Know?   Lou Jacobs was the first living person to be depicted on a United States postage Stamp. The second was Neil Armstrong.


The auguste clown character created by Lou Jacobs, is no doubt one of the most recognizable face in the world. Lou's image has been used on countless circus posters, print ads, and painted on circus trucks, (many without permission or the rights to do so).

Johann Ludwig Jacob was born on January 1, 1903 in Bremerhaven, Germany, the youngest of their nine children. Lou's mother and father were a vaudeville song and dance team, his brother Karl a contortionist.

Lou's brother Karl came to the United States first, working the vaudeville circuit with his contortion act. After saving enough money Karl paid the fare for Lou to come and join him, Lou arrived in 1923 with two dollars in his pocket. Lou's first job in the U.S. was in an comedy acrobatic act in variety theatres and music halls.

In 1925 Lou was encouraged to join the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus by the circus' ringmaster Fred Bradna. John Ringling hired Jacobs for show the where he joined fellow clowns Otto Griebling, Emmett Kelly and Felix Adler. For the next 60 years Lou Jacobs would make audiences laugh.

Lou created a variety of gags for the show, He water skied around the hippodrome track, drove a motorized bathtub and perfected the "fireman save my child" routine. But perhaps he is best known driving into the ring in his 2' by 3' miniature car and surprising the audience when the 6' 1" Jacobs emerged.

On September 13, 1992 Johann Ludwig Jacob, died in his sleep of heart failure in his home in Sarasota, FL..


Sarasota's Circus Ring of Fame   On January 16, 1988 Lou Jacobs was inducted into the Sarasota's Circus Ring of Fame.

1987 Kenneth Feld presented Jacobs with Ringling's Lifetime Achievement Award.

1989 inducted into the Circus Hall Of Fame.

1989 inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame.

Lou Jacobs Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey
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Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey postcard
Lou Jacobs and his dog Knucklehead
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