R.I.P. Bozo the Clown Star Frank Avruch

R.I.P. Bozo the Clown Star Frank Avruch
Beloved children's entertainer Frank Avruch — best known for playing Bozo the Clown — has died. He was 89.

In a statement, Avruch's family confirmed he passed away from heart disease on Tuesday (March 20) at his home in Boston, the Associated Press reports.

From 1959 until 1970, Avruch played he starring role on the long-running Bozo the Clown TV program. While other actors played the titular character over the years, it was Avruch who became the show's first nationally syndicated Bozo the Clown.

"Our dad loved the children of all ages who remembered being on his show and was always grateful for their kind words," his family's statement reads. "We will miss him greatly."

Speaking to AP, Avruch's manager added, "He had a heart of gold. He brought the Bozo the Clown character to life better than anyone else's portrayal of Bozo the Clown."

Besides playing Bozo, Avruch was a contributor to WCVB-TV for more than 40 years, hosting such shows as Man About Town and The Great Entertainment. As an actor, he also had a role in the 1981 TV movie Summer Solstice, which starred Henry Fonda and Myrna Loy.

Outside of TV, Avruch was a philanthropist and a board member of UNICEF'S New England chapter, often touring the world as Bozo the Clown for UNICEF.

Avruch is survived by his wife Betty, two sons Matthew and Steven and several grandchildren.

You can look back on Avruch's long career via the mini-documentary below.