The American Circuses and Sideshowa
Main Entrance    Circuses    Circus Performers    Owners    Circus Life
Sideshows     Sideshow Acts    Lingo     Circus Movies    Book Store    Train Wrecks

 

Circus Owner John Ringling North

 

John Ringling North

Aug. 14, 1903 - June 4 1985

 

John Ringling North was born in Baraboo, Wisconsin on Aug. 14, 1903, the son of Henry and Ida Ringling North, (sister of John Ringling one of the five Ringling brothers who founded the Ringling Bros. Circus in 1884).

In 1926 John Ringling's brother Charles died, leaving full control of the circus to John. John Ringling was a shrewd businessman and soon became one of the richest men in the world.

John Ringling North had studied at the University of Wisconsin and later at Yale. He left Yale in his junior year taking a job for a New York stock brokerage. In 1926 he worked at his uncle John's real estate company in Sarasota, FL.. In 1929 he returned to the New York brokerage, but continued to assist his uncle in his businesses.

John Ringling made a will leaving control of the circus to his sister Ida Ringling North and her two sons John and Henry Ringling North, the will also designated Ida and John Ringling North as executors. After a dispute, John changed his will leaving Ida only $ 5000.00 and cutting the two sons out, however he failed to change executors. John Ringling North took advantage of this loophole and gained full control of the circus after his uncle John's death in 1936.

In 1944 after pressure from other members of the Ringling family, John Ringling North resigned as president of the corporation. Control of the circus was the taken over by John Ringling North's cousin Robert Ringling, the son of Charles and Edith Ringling.

During John Ringling North's absence, occurred the worst tragedy in American circus history, the Hartford fire. July 6, 1944, in Hartford, Connecticut, during an afternoon performance fire broke out near the top of the big top. Within minutes over 160 people had died.

In 1947 John Ringling North was able to re-purchased his share of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and he was once again in command. The circus had accumulated a large amount of debt. in the previous years. Mr. North being a shrewd business soon was able to get the circus on its feet.

In 1956 John Ringling North to transform the circus from a under-canvas show to an indoor circus.

In 1967, after 20 years of leading the "Greatest Show on Earth", John Ringling North made the decision to sell the circus. The purchaser was Irvin Feld.

On Tuesday, June 4 1985, in a hotel room in Brussels Belgium, John Ringling North died of a stroke.

 

 
John Ringling North, his mother Ida and Henry Ringling North
Click to enlarge
John Ringling North, his mother Ida and Henry Ringling North
 
Photo: State Archives of Florida
Florida Memory
 
John Ringling North by circus train
Click to enlarge
John Ringling North
 
Photo: State Archives of Florida
Florida Memory
 

 

Main Entrance    Circuses    Circus Performers    Owners    Circus Life
Sideshows     Sideshow Acts    Lingo     Circus Movies    Book Store    Train Wrecks
 Copyright © 2013 Circuses and Sideshows Dot Com