Boston television personality Frank Avruch, who played the popular character Bozo the Clown, passed away from heart disease at 89 years old, the Associated Press reports.
While Pinto Colvig is credited as the first man to play Bozo, Avruch was the first Bozo the Clown to have appeared on nationally-syndicated television. He played the character from 1959 to 1970 and starred in the popular children's show, Bozo the Clown.
In addition to playing the well-known character, Avruch was a contributor to the local news station WCVB-TV for more than 40 years as host of Man About Town and The Great Entertainment. He also dedicated his life to philanthropy, eventually joining the board for UNICEF'S New England chapter and touring the world as Bozo for the organization.
Avruch's family has released a statement on his death, noting his legacy as the legendary character along with his many contributions to the world.
"While it's hard to say goodbye, we celebrate the legacy of joy and laughter he brought to millions of children around the world as Bozo the Clown on TV and as a UNICEF Ambassador and later as host of Channel 5′s Great Entertainment and Boston's Man About Town," they said in a statement to WCVB-TV. "Our dad loved the children of all ages who remembered being on his show and was always grateful for their kind words. We will miss him greatly."