By Dominique Jando
Béla Kremo (Berlin, 1911-Zurich, 1979) was born Béla José Kremo in Berlin, but was a Swiss citizen. The son of Karl Kremo and his wife Margarethe, née Hanus, he debuted in his father's famous risley act when he was five years old. He soon showed great abilities as a juggler, an art he learned in part by watching a friend of his father's, the legendary Enrico Rastelli, and which became his hobby. When time came to create his juggling act, Béla Kremo managed to distance himself from the oft-imitated style of the juggling master and to create a style of his own. He debuted his solo-juggling act in 1931 at the Apollo Theater in Aalborg, Sweden, under the name Trenton, as the Kremos' "second act;" he began using his own name in 1934.
Béla Kremo is credited with originating the three-object juggling routine, working solely with groups of three objects – three balls, three hats, and three cigar boxes, and a bowler hat, a cigar, and a pair of gloves rolled together. His act was known as the "Gentleman Juggler:" Béla Kremo used ordinary objects that were part of a perfect gentleman's panoply, having them on stage or in the ring on a simple chair, instead of the traditional prop table or basket.
His was an act built on a unique mixture of difficult juggling skills and a good dose of comedy. His first wife, Welda, died in a car accident in 1939. He married a second time with Marianne Kalbitz; their son Kris (born in 1951) joined Béla's act in 1970: father and son both worked the same energetic routine in perfect unison, which resulted in spectacular effects. Belá Kremo retired from performing in 1976, leaving his son Kris brilliantly perpetuate the "Gentleman Juggler" routine as a solo performer.
- Video: Béla Kremo, juggler, on ABC TV's Hollywood Palace (1966)
- Biographies: The Kremo Family, Kris Kremo
- Oral History: Kris Kremo: interview with Dominique Jando (2007)