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Circus Owner, Movie Actor, Animal Trainer Clyde Beatty

Clyde Beatty

June 10, 1903 - July 19, 1965

Clyde Beatty world-renowned animal trainer, movie actor and circus owner.

Clyde Raymond Beatty was born June 10, 1903 in the small village of Bainbridge, Ohio near the city of Chillicothe, Beatty was the the eldest of nine children. He attended and graduated from Chillicothe High School. On August 16, 1921, Clyde and a friend climbed aboard a freight train which took the young men to Washington Court House, OH where Clyde joined the Howes Great London Circus.

Clyde began working as a cage boy for the circus' animal trainer Louis Roth and later for John "Chubby" Guilfoyle. Beatty quickly found that he had a talent for working with and training the big cats. in 1923 Beatty began working a small mixed animal act in the circus.

1925 Beatty worked with the Hagenbeck–Wallace Circus. While working with Hagenbeck–Wallace the show's featured animal trainer Pete Taylor, became ill and young Clyde was asked to take over the act. The act consisted of 25 lions and tigers, a huge challenge for a still novice animal trainer. This is when Beatty began working on his unique style and presentation of the "fighting" animal act.

Clyde was true showman. He would rush into the steel bound arena with his peth helmet, cane bottom chair, whip and gun (loaded with blanks). This heart-pounding, fast paced and exciting style was a overnight success. keeping audiences on the edge of their seats. Beatty was soon noticed by John Ringling North, (who owned HWC at that time). From 1931 to 1934 North brought Beatty to perform at the opening dates of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in New York City and Boston. In 1932 Beatty was seriously mauled by a lion and nearly died.
Beatty had become such a drawing card for the circus' that John Ringling North postponed the opening in NYC to give Clyde time to recover from his injuries.

Clyde Beatty had become and American Icon, all circuses now wanted the Beatty act, the use of Clyde's name on circus posters meant big bucks.

On Sept. 13, 1933 while showing in Bristol, Tennessee, Clyde and circus aerialist Harriett Evans slipped away from the show lot long enough to be married.

In 1935 Clyde Beatty went on the road with Jess Adkins and Zack Terrell's "Cole Bros. Circus", In 1943 he was hired by Art Concello to star on the "Clyde Beatty-Russell Bros. Circus".

In 1947 Beatty took out his own "Clyde Beatty Circus" which was a rail road show. 1956 was a bad season for circuses. The economy had forced Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to leave their tents behind for the next season and begin showing in buildings. The Clyde Beatty circus ended that year in bankruptcy forcing Beatty to sell the show.

Between 1950 and 1952 a syndicated radio series, "The Clyde Beatty Show" was on the air. The show was a weekly adventure series loosely based on Clyde's career. Beatty was not actually on the show, the voice of actor radio Vic Perrin was used as Clyde's.

Clyde Beatty Circus was purchased by Frank McClosky, Walter Kernan, Jerry Collins and Randolph Calhoun, who had formed the Acme Circus Operating Corporation. The circus was retitled Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus.

Clyde continued to perform his wild animal act on the CBCBC. In 1964 Beatty was diagnosed with cancer, he continued to performed until his health, and strength no longer permitted. Beatty opened the season in 1965 but soon had to return to his home in Ventura, California. On July 19, 1965, Clyde Raymond Beatty died at his home in Ventura.

Dave Hoover (selected by Beatty), took over the act and performed in the style and tradition of the Great Clyde Beatty. The Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus continued until in closed 1981. The Name Clyde Beatty Circus is again in use today.

Movie career, Beatty not only stared in the center ring but was also starred on radio and in many movies. Movie titles include The Big Cage 1933, The Lost Jungle 1934, Darkest Africa 1936, Africa Screams 1949, Perils of the Jungle 1953 and Ring of Fear 1954.

Clyde Beatty was married three times in his life:
First to Beatrice Ernestine Jones Pegg from Jan. 26 1926 until Nov. 1 1932 (divorced) 1 child
Second Wife, Harriett Evans from Sept. 13 1933 until Oct. 25 1950 (her death of heart attack)
Third Wife, Jane Lorraine Abel from July 31 1951 until July 19 1965) (Clyde's death) 1 child

Clyde Beatty clowning with Earl Shipley

 
Animal Trainer Clyde Beatty
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Clyde Beatty Lion Trainer
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Clyde Beatty 1928
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Hagenbeck Wallace Circus 1928
 
Clyde and Harriet Baetty
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Newlyweds
Clyde and Harriett (Evans) Beatty, 1933
 
Clyde Beatty Circus Poster
 
Clyde on Hagenbeck Wallace Circus
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Clyde Beatty on Hagenbeck Wallace
1929
 
Harriet Beatty 1952
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Harriett Beatty 1952

 

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