Since 1973, Richard Ellis has been associated with UNC School of the Arts, where he attended summer school as a scholarship student.  

Graduating in 1978 with a B.F.A. in drama, he went on to study at the Circus Dimitri School in Switzerland and has been clowning ever since.

He moved to New York in 1980 and began his professional career with the New York City Ballet and George Balanchine in "The Spellbound Child" for PBS.

Soon after he went on tour with the "Slim Goodbody Show" as a health crusader. Richard has been associated with such groups as the "No Elephant Circus," "If Every Fool Inc." under the direction of John Towsen, and "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" as clown consultant for over 10 years. 

Richard was featured in the 1988 "East Meets West" and 1998 "Happy On" shows of "The Big Apple Circus" under the direction of Paul Binder and Michael Christensen in New York City. He was first called in as a horseback rider and soon found his way to "Dikki" the flying clown, as seen on CBS' "Great Circuses of the World." 

A few years earlier, Michael Christensen approached him to participate in pilot program called the "Big Apple Circus Clown Care ,"(now world wide) where clowns dress as doctors and visit children in hospitals on a regular basis. Richard was recently featured with Meredith Vieria on the "Today Show" as clown doctors (photo above). As a Founding Member he still makes bedside rounds as clown "Dr. Trikki".

As co-creator of his own theater company, "The Hanlon-Lees Action Theater," Richard developed and performed on horseback with the "First American Joust Troupe" show. The company has been featured in movies, commercials, television and live at Renaissance Fairs throughout the country for the past 25 years.

Richard returns each year to U.N.C. School of the Arts as a clown/movement instructor. He has also been a guest artist at New York University, NYC, University of Texas in Austin, and Wake Forest University, NC.

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Copyright © 2002 by Richard Ellis. All rights reserved.