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Joe Vani Sherman
Birth: Jun. 12, 1913
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Mar. 21, 2008
Hamilton County
Ohio, USA

Entertainer. Reported to be world's oldest professional circus clown at time of death, he gained fame as half of the Sherman Brothers clown duo. When his fireman father was trampled to death by horses en route to a fire, he was sent to an orphanage until the 6th grade because his mother could not support him and his brothers. After leaving the orphanage he worked and sent his earnings to her, then later as a teen with an interest in entertainment, took a job delivering telegrams for Western Union in order to meet performers and gain backstage access. Other work as a hotel bellhop led to his meeting vaudevillians Ken Waite and Chester Sherman of the Ken Waite acrobatic trio. When a third member dropped out of the act, Waite auditioned Vani and he became a member of the trio, performing in vaudeville. In 1937 when Waite retired the act, Sherman and Vani became "The Sherman Brothers" and began a lifetime clowning career. Performing as that name the team appeared throughout the United States for over 38 years, from 1937 to 1975, touring with the Medina, Howard, Carden-Johnson, and Polack Brothers Circuses, as well as the Orrin Davenport Shows and other Shrine Circuses. They created and were known for various traditional clown acts, including the hot doggie, wherein a clown steals hot dogs from a clown vendor, eats them all, gets sick and has his stomach pumped by clown doctors, producing a small live dog. As the act exits the dog follows, erect on its hind legs. In addition to their regular show obligations, the duo voluntarily visited hospitals throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, entertaining both patients and staff. They clowned with their peers, including other featured circus clown notables Lou Jacobs, Emmett Kelly Sr., Otto Griebling, Felix Adler, Shorty Flemm, Harry Dann, Freddy Freeman, Paul Jung, Larry Cross, Peluza, Chester BoBo Barnett, and many others, remaining active through the years until Chester Sherman's passing in 1976. Joe Sherman continued clowning with several new protégé partners until 1980, when his failing eyesight caused him to retire. In 1995 the Sherman Brothers duo were hailed by their profession and inducted into the International Clown Hall Of Fame. Their traditional show wardrobe and effects were donated to the museum at the time of their induction. His partner in clowning, Chester Sherman, passed away on November 4, 1976. (bio by: Verne Langdon) 
Saint Alphonsus Catholic Cemetery
New Munster
Kenosha County
Wisconsin, USA
Plot: Section D, Block 214, Grave G
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Verne Langdon
Record added: Apr 21, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26193790
Joe Vani Sherman
Added by: Verne Langdon
Joe Vani Sherman
Added by: Verne Langdon
Joe Vani Sherman
Added by: Verne Langdon
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