Saturday, December 06, 2008


Photos and information courtesy of Don Stacey and George Garrard

Gaston Hani, Pipo Sosman Jr and Rolf Knie circa 1986

Gaston Hani, Pipo Sosman Jr and Rolf Knie in the mid-80s when they were leaving Switzerland's Circus Knie for a series of variety dates (sans traditional makeup and costumes) all around the world.

Rolf Knie was born in Bern in 1949 into the sixth generation of one of the most famous of European circus dynasties. He excelled as an animal trainer, in the best traditions of his family, and as an acrobat, but found his metier was clowning in 1973. He is now retired from performing and is well known and respected as a painter.

Gaston Hani, born in Zurich in 1951, is from another famous Swiss circus family and is the nephew of the famous clown, Andreff. By the mid 80s he had been partnered with Rolf Knie for about a decade

Pipo Sosman Jr, born in Paris in 1949, is the son of one of Europe's most famous whiteface clowns. He starting out playing auguste but later adopted his late father's distinctive makeup. After working for Gruss in France he joined Circus Knie in 1980 where he partnered up with Rolf and Gaston.

American audiences will remember Pipo Jr working alongside David Larible in Feld Entertainment's Barnum's Kaleidoscape. I believe that Pipo is currently performing in Madrid on Circo Price.

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