New York, NY, August 10...Once a renowned rodeo clown and bullfighter, innovative circus producer Frank Curry ended his life on July 28th in Bowling Green Kentucky. He was found, according to his family, near the entrance to the city’s Hobson Grove Park, a multi-use recreational facility set in sylvan acreage. In his rodeo days, Mr.Curry was known as The Manhattan Matador, in his first circus years, as Vice President-Marketing, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. However, as creator and executive producer of the Ronald McDonald Circus, his crowning
achievement, he was known as a master of creativity whose physical stature was enhanced by a ready smile and a white felt Stetson.
Born in New York City in 1940, Frank Curry was the son of Mr. Francis R. Curry, an attorney and his wife, Eileen McCarty Curry, an activist Roman Catholic charitable organizations. His grandfather was John F. Curry, leader of Tammany Hall in the politically tumultuous years from 1929 until 1934 when former New York State Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt became President of the United States.
Like most who were children in the 1950s, Mr. Curry watched the “magic box” that was television. Children’s programming at the time mostly featured Western stars such as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Clayton Moore and X Brands as The Lone Ranger and Tonto, and Gail Davis as Annie Oakley. Children also spent time with cheerful clowns like Clarabelle on the Howdy Doody Show, and troupe members appearing on Claude Kirchner’s circus show or on the Sealtest Company’s “Big Top.” When a teenager, he began sneaking into Madison Square Garden, then on 50th Street and 8th Avenue to see in “real life” the rodeos and circuses reproduced on the little screen. There he met rodeo clown idols The Cajun Kid and Buck Legrand and legendary elephant trainer Hugo Schmidt who said to him, “You make good elephant man.”
After working for himself as a rodeo clown and for Ringling Brothers as marketing executive, Mr. Curry took the bold step of starting a live entertainment, The Ronald McDonald Circus from scratch. His goal was to provide a show that was low in ticket price at the same time it was a successful enterprise high in quality, versatility and imagination. His goal was realized, one example of which took place at the BridgestoneArena in Nashville, Tennessee. During a four-day engagement, the show garnered over 85,000 attendees, a record number for such an event.
A private Holy Mass will be celebrated for Mr. Curry at his parish, Saint Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan on Monday, August 13th. A memorial service will be held in the Fall.
Mr. Curry is survived by two sisters, Ann Curry Marcato, an advertising consultant, and Barbara Curry, a public relations specialist, as well as two nephews and numerous cousins.
CONTACT: BARBARA CURRY
29 EAST 104TH STREET
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10029