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In The Spotlight


Jacko Fossett.jpg

A very popular British clownGeneric term for all clowns and augustes. '''Specific:''' In Europe, the elegant, whiteface character who plays the role of the straight man to the Auguste in a clown team., Jacko Fossett (1922-2004) belonged to the English branch of the extremely prolific Fossett circus family, whose origins date back to the mid-nineteenth century in Ireland. So numerous the Fossett clan is that it was once said that every circus in the British Isles harbored at least one Fossett! (Jacko Fossett said: "It's not a family, it's a disease!") The family produced several good clowns, among whom Harry Fossett ("Funny Harry"), Tommy Fossett, better known as "Professor Grimble," and Jacko's own father, also known as "Jacko." The junior Jacko Fossett, however, enjoyed a very successful career that spanned nearly sixty years not only in the British Isles, but also abroad.

He was born Robert George John Francis Fossett on November 11, 1922, in Kingston upon Hull, a port city in East Yorkshire where his father, John Fossett, was performing as a clown with the Sir Robert Fossett Circus. His mother was Marie Fossett, née Proctor, a tightwireSee Tight Wire. artist who came from a large family of fairground entertainers. Jack (as Jacko Fossett was known to his friends and family) had three elder sisters, Margaret, Emmie, and Louise, who, as a trio, performed a trapeze act.

John Fossett was one of the eleven children of Robert Fossett III (whose own father, "Sir" Robert Fossett, was the founder of the eponymous circus) and Isabelle Bailey. After the death of his father in December 1922, John, with some of his siblings, founded the Fossett Family Circus, while his brother Robert IV revived the Sir Robert Fossett title. Like all circus children, Jack Fossett learned an array of circus disciplines from his extended family. Unfortunately, despite changing its name to a glorious Fossett's Imperial Circus, the Fossett Family Circus failed and eventually closed in 1928.... (more...)

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