SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Don Sandburg, the last surviving original cast member of WGN-TV’s legendary “Bozo’s Circus,” died from complications of Alzheimer’s Saturday night.
Sandburg came to Chicago from Cincinnati, Ohio with two other broadcasters: Bob Bell, the original Bozo on WGN, and radio legend Wally Phillips.
From the beginning of “Bozo’s Circus” in 1961, Sandburg performed and wrote on the show, and became a producer until 1969. Among his longest-lasting achievements was creating what’s remembered as the “Bozo Bucket Game” or the “Grand Prize Game.”
Sandburg also played the mute clown Sandy the Tramp on what would become the most successful children’s television show in history. There was always a boyish innocence and charm to the character still beloved and remembered so fondly after all of these years.
After leaving the Bozo Show in 1969, he produced Sid and Marty Krofft’s “The Banana Splits,” and several other nationally-broadcast programs. Sandy returned to WGN for Bozo’s 25th, 30th and 40th anniversary specials.
Sandburg passed away Saturday at his son’s home in Springfield, Oregon, at 87 years old. He is survived by his wife and son.