Oleg Popov, a much loved Russian clown and cultural icon, died on Wednesday at age 86.
Nicknamed the “Sunshine clown”, Popov died while on tour in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. He rose to fame during the Soviet era, taking on the role of head clown at the Great Moscow State Circus in 1956. In that year, the circus embarked on a tour of western Europe, the first foreign performance by a Soviet circus group. In 1969, Popov was honoured with the title of People’s Artist of the USSR.
Remembered as a talented performer, Popov combined mime, tightrope walking and juggling in his act.
The beloved clown “brought joy and goodness to many generations of our compatriots”, said Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky in a statement of condolence. “He managed to create a unique image of an eccentric clown who radiated light just by making an appearance, and turned every performance into a festivity.”
Source: BBC News