Howell Eurich El Paso suicide

Bozo's sidekick reflects on clowning

By PATTY ALLEN-JONES [email protected]


Nov 7, 2006 at 2:48 AM

From 1994 to 2001, Robin Eurich was known across the country to millions of adults and children as "Rusty the Handyman," the sidekick to the popular Bozo the Clown character on Chicago's WGN-TV.

It was a time the Sarasota resident fondly remembers.

"It was seven years of nothing but fun," said Eurich, 53, who works at Madfish Grill restaurant. "I got to do what I had been training my whole life to do. I got to do it enough to feel comfortable with it. I thought it was the best job I've had in my whole life."

Eurich will reunite with the actor who portrayed Bozo, Joey D'Auria, this weekend to teach a series of Circus Sarasota workshops on clowning.

There will be sessions on clowning with a partner, clowning for the camera, gag or skit writing, clown characters and the use of improvisation to create material.

Neither will you be in costume.

D'Auria was Bozo for 17 years.

"He was just the greatest partner; he was so gracious; he allowed me to do what I do best," Eurich said, which was adding physical movements, acting and silliness to traditional skits.

Eurich was part of the cast of "Bozo Super Sunday Show," the final version of the 40-year classic children's show.

"I never played the goof" before coming on the show, Eurich said. "I played the guy in control, the emcee, the straight man. I had taught people how to play the goof. I had to figure it out."

He became interested in clowning in 1971 while visiting his dad in El Paso, Texas. His parents had divorced when he was young.

His dad is Howell Eurich, Bozo the Clown for the El Paso version of the show from 1967 to 1977.

"For some reason I showed up, got introduced to my father, and it gave my life direction," said the younger Eurich, who was living in San Francisco and had enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley.

"It was fascinating to me," he said. "I wanted to be a performer. I thought, 'I can do this. I'm born to do this.' In terms of inspiration, that's what it was all about. "

In 1975 Eurich attended the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College in Venice. He learned improvisation, miming and juggling.

He has learned many styles along the way.

His r sum includes working at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles along with such notables as Robin Williams and doing commercials.

Eurich appeared in the movies "Hoffa," "Straight Talk" and "National Lampoon's Class Reunion" and on the television shows "Alice," "Hill Street Blues" and "Webster."

He taught for five years at the Ringling Clown College and taught and directed at the Comedy Store.

Eurich was one of 160 people to audition for the role as Rusty. He sang a dyslexic version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."