Ernie “Blinko” Burch


Ernie “Blinko” Burch

Linden, Union County, New Jersey, USA
Death 29 Aug 1993 (aged 70)
Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered
Memorial ID 79381113 View Source

A famous circus white-face clown. He started clowning at 14 years old and debued with the Daily Brothers circus in Georgetown, Texas for $1 a day. An old timer clown, Lou Kish, took him under his wing and taught him the do's and don'ts of clowning. He tourned with the Daily Brother's circus until 1943. He went into the army. When he got out the returned to the Daily Brother's circus. Then worked with Zack Terrell & Cole Brothers, the King Brother's circus and the Sparks circus. He was hired by Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1948. In 1955, while still with Ringling Brothers he met Maran Corell, an Hungarian acrobat, who he would eventually marry in Miami, Florida on October 18, 1958 in the center ring of Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers circus in front of an audience of 5,000 people. Their wedding was covered by NBC.

Ernie appeared in 17 scenes of the movie The Greatest Show on Earth. It was Cecil B. DeMille who gave him his clown name, Blinko, because of the 2-1/2 green eyelashes that he wore. Ernie used a whiteface make-up, and his eyelashes and treble cleft in the middle of his forehead were his trademarks.

He and his wife Maran were chosen to represent American Circus in Russia.

He and his wife were a feature act at Circus Circus in Los Vegas from 1978 to 1992.

He kept a home In Sarasota, Florida for wintering and his eventual retirement. In the late 1950Œs, he had a TV show based out of Chicago.

His retirement was short, as he died from cancer in 1997.

He has one older sister, Evelyn.

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