Paul Jerome

Paul Jerome, Portrait by Antonio Romero

Paul Jerome (September 30, 1889 – November 14, 1960)
Paul Jerome was born on September 30, 1889, in St. Joseph, Missouri, USA as Paul Jerome James. At an early age Paul’s family moved to Mississippi. Many years later, Paul served in the United States Navy during World War I. Afterward, Paul began his show business career as a burlesque comedian. He soon moved to the circus ring over the theatre stage. Paul Jerome as a comedy whiteface – color photo taken outside.
Paul Jerome as a comedy whiteface
Initially, he began working as a white face clown. Oddly, his white face makeup was similar to Felix Adler‘s. It’s not uncommon, even today, for photos of these two whiteface clowns to be misidentified as each other. Paul Jerome applying makeup.
Paul is best remembered as a tramp clown. He became known as the “Neon Clown”. This is due to the light at the tip of his nose. As well as the large glowing heart that he activated at the sight of a pretty girl. This was long before modern LEDs and efficient batteries … The apparatus used was heavy and cumbersome and had to be rewired before each performance. His dog also wore a glowing light at the tip of his tail. Hey kids! Bosco the Clown says, drink your milk with delicious, chocolaty Bosco – Paul Jerome, Ringling Bros. clown.
He spent over twenty-five years with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus. Due to that, he appears in The Greatest Show on Earth in 1952. A very popular clown, he appears on numerous posters, photos, figurines, and advertisements. He died on November 14, 1960, in Sarasota, Florida, USA. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia.