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Michael Polakovs

Michael Polakovs "Coco"

Feb. 23, 1923 - Mar. 06, 2009

Michael Polakovs, born in Riga, Latvia, to circus artists Nikolai and Valentina Polakovs. Michael was a second generation circus clown. His father Nikolai, was a famous clown in Europe and was the original Coco the Clown and Michael's mother was a circus aerialist. Polakovs. Michael, was born "on the road", while his family was touring with a circus in Latvia. The family performed in Russia, Germany. In 1929 Nikolai (Michael's Father) went to England to work with the Bertram Mills Circus, the rest of the family followed in 1934.

Michael followed in his father's footsteps and began clowning at age 14. When he moved to England he began working for Bertram Mills. During the Second World War the show closed for several years and Michael took jobs working on roads, digging ditches and as a government driver until the show re-opened in 1946.

In 1959 Michael moved to the United States to work for the Mills Bros. Circus, in 1961 he began working for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. Polakovs became Ringling's "advance Clown, he would travel a few days ahead of the circus, meet with the press and give television interviews.

In 1966 Polakovs was hired as a consultant for the McDonald's Corp., where he helped create the company's icon Ronald McDonald.

Michael Polakovs died of complications from a stroke, December 06, 2009 in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. Michael’s oldest son, Graham, still performs as Coco Jr. keeping up the family tradition.

1961 Michael Polakovs was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame.

2008 Michael Polakovs was presented lifetime achievement award by Ringling Colleg


Michael Polakovs Circus Clown
Michael Polakovs and Minnie Pearl
Michael Polakovs 6
Michael Polakovs 4
Michael Polakovs
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