Sarasota Creators Lou Jacobs

Lou Jacobs came to America from Germany in 1923 and was hired by Ringling Bothers Circus in 1925. For the next 60 years Jacobs delighted audiences as an auguste clown and perfected his classic acts which included a miniature car and a chihuahua named Knucklehead.

Jacobs’ elevated clowning to an art form which he then shared with others as a founding professor of the Ringling Clown College. The Clown College was opened in 1968 in Venice, Florida and Lou Jacobs taught at the school for 23 years.

Lou Jacobs passed away in 1992, but his influence on the art of circus remains prevalent in Sarasota County, most notably so though the work of his daughter Dolly Jacobs and the Circus Arts Conservatory. Dolly and her husband Pedro Reis have continued to share the art of the circus through instruction, performances, and community service.

(State Archives of Florida/Steinmetz)