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Frank Avruch, TV’s Bozo the Clown, Dies at 89

The world of television has lost a legend.

Don’t laugh.

We’re being serious.

bozo

Frank Avruch, a veteran television personality and entertainer who was the star of the popular children’s TV program Bozo the Clown, died on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with heart disease.

He was 89 years old.

“He had a heart of gold,” Stuart Hersh, Avruch’s manager, said in a statement to The Associated Press, adding:

“He brought the Bozo the Clown character to life better than anyone else’s portrayal of Bozo the Clown.”

Avruch played the legendary clown from 1959 through 1970.

He was the first to be nationally syndicated by way of the Boston-based program Bozo’s Big Top, which aired in New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C., among other select markets across the nation.

The long-time actor was also a UNICEF ambassador, performing as this beloved character at events across the globe.

Avruch

Avruch also served as a contributor to WCVB-TV for more than 40 years as a host of Man About Town and The Great Entertainment.

Hence the outpouring of sympathy and sadness from those in and around the Boston market in response to this unfortunate piece of news.

“LOVED Frank.  Channel 5’s Man about Town, Great entertainment. Best known as Bozo the Clown,” Tweeted anchor Maria Stephano this morning.

“By all accounts here @wcvb he was a kind wonderful man. RIP Frank and thanks.”

Avruch was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007.

“He touched so many people with his portrayal,” Hersh added when talking to The Associated Press about his friend and client.

as bozo

Avruch is survived by his wife Betty, two sons Matthew and Steven and several grandchildren.

The family said the following in a statement of its own today:

“While it’s hard to say goodbye, we celebrate the legacy of joy and laughter he brought to millions of children around the world as Bozo the Clown on TV and as a UNICEF Ambassador and later as host of Channel 5′s Great Entertainment and Boston’s Man About Town.

“Our dad loved the children of all ages who remembered being on his show and was always grateful for their kind words.

“We will miss him greatly.”

We send our thoughts to Avruch’s loved ones.

May he rest in peace.

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