In the theater world, Jerry Sando wore many hats. But perhaps none was as memorable as the bald-headed wig he wore as Bozo the Clown on...
In the theater world, Jerry Sando wore many hats. But perhaps none was as memorable as the bald-headed wig he wore as Bozo the Clown on local children’s TV.
In the late 1950s and early 60s, Mr. Sando was a mainstay on Stan Boreson’s “KING’s Clubhouse” on KING-TV, charming audiences as Bozo and eight other characters, including Myrtle Mopup, the disruptive cleaning lady.
Mr. Sando was also one of the best-known names in local theater during those years. After running a theater program in the Midwest, he returned to the Northwest to become the point person for attracting audiences to the Seattle Repertory Theatre.
Mr. Sando, who had been retired from theater work for about eight years, died Sept. 4 in Lacey, Thurston County, after a long battle with lung disease, said his wife of 46 years, Dianne Prindible Sando. He was 71.
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A Seattle native, Mr. Sando first got involved in theater when he was 8. He had taken “precocious child” roles in productions at the Repertory Playhouse in the early 1940s and performed later at the Tryout Theater and the Mercer Island Summer Theater, according to a 1954 newspaper article.
A graduate of Seattle’s Franklin High School, he had attended Whitman College for three years, performing each summer with the college’s Summer Circle Touring Theater. He transferred to the University of Washington’s drama school for his senior year and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1956 and a master’s degree the next year.
While in graduate school, Mr. Sando wrote “Day of the Party,” a comedy-drama about a small college. It was presented in 1958 by KCTS-TV in association with the UW drama school — the first hourlong live-television production of an original local drama. It was the first time in UW drama-school history that a student had written and produced his own play as part of his studies for a master’s degree, a newspaper reviewer said at the time.
Mr. Sando worked with Boreson on daily TV shows for about six years. “It was just he and I who had to plan those shows every day,” Boreson said.
Mr. Sando’s son, Stephen Sando of New York, said he was proud to tell his friends that his father was a TV clown. “To have Bozo the Clown as your dad was pretty cool,” said his son, a former CBS News executive.
Mr. Sando also served as an assistant director at Seattle’s Cirque Playhouse.
In 1964, Mr. Sando was named the first regional director of the American National Theater and Academy’s regional theater program in St. Paul, Minn.
After returning to the Northwest, Mr. Sando spent a decade as marketing director for Seattle Rep. “He loved theater, and he did a very good job for us,” said Peter Donnelly, who was then the company’s producing director.
Mr. Sando also served as marketing director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and for the Denver Center Theatre Company and the Tacoma Actors Guild.
In addition to his wife and son Stephen, Mr. Sando is survived by son Mike, of Enumclaw; daughter Elizabeth, of Olympia; and two grandchildren.
A service will be held at 1 p.m. next Tuesday at St. James Episcopal Church, 24447 94th Ave. S., in Kent. Remembrances may be made to the church.
Charles E. Brown: 206-464-2206 or firstname.lastname@example.org