Wednesday, January 02, 2008

LEE MARX: Shrine Circus, 1982

Photo courtesy of Larry Clark


Lee Marx, son of Carl Marx, who, like Joe Jackson Jr. and Emmett Kelly Jr., adopted his father's makeup, costume and material.

Lee also did Rolling Globe and a bit of juggling.

He toured with the Hubert Castle Circus for many years working with with Rex "Boxcar" Young, Gene Randow, Harold Simmons and Chester "Bobo" Barnett. Lee also did halftime shows for the Harlem Globetrotters.

1 comment:

Elmo Gibb said...

"Lee also did Rolling Globe and a bit of juggling." I worked with Lee on the 1984 Tarzan Zerbini Circus, playing every town in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia that had a hockey arena. Lee left the circus at an early age (having been apprenticed to a German circus family that schooled him in rebounding rope--he absolutely hated the rebounding rope and the cruel teaching methods) and went into Vaudeville as a juggler. He played the Palace Theatre in New York 22 times, and his is one of the autographs scrawled on the dressing room walls that has been preserved behind plexiglas. He was the featured juggler on the huge, tented Hadacol medicine show, which traveled on a private train and was a large as a regular circus, even hauling three elephants. He even did a stint in the Spike Jones band, blowing godawful notes on a trombone (he really couldn't play it, anyway) and also juggled and did acrobatics. He was the very first variety artist on the Jackie Gleason Show, and stayed close friends with Jackie over the rest of his life. One day he called me over to the phone and told me to say hello to a friend of his--it was actually Jackie on the other end!!! In Lee's Vaudeville act he juggled on rolling globe. His blow-off trick has never been duplicated. Lee would do a standing back somersault landing back on the ball, then do a back layout to the floor followed by a series of back handsprings into the wings. The incredible part is that he used no doughnut to stabilize the globe during the back soomersaults! A car accident killed his first wife and left him nearly paralyzed. He married the woman who nursed him back to life. Anna eventually understood Lee's restless yearnings and suggested he go back on the road as a clown. He had a son, Richard, and a daughter, Debbie. Lee sent almost every cent he earned back home to the family, sleeping in the prop truck to save on hotels. If anyone knows any details about Lee after 1984, please email me at elmogibb@yahoo.com

Elmo