Larry Harmon, who made Bozo the Clown a veritable household institution in the 1950s, died Thursday in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure at age 83. Although he did not create the character, he purchased the copyright and trademark to the clown in the 1950s and "cloned" (his description) a number of Bozos who appeared on local kids shows during the days before television stations across the country were linked by coaxial cable or satellite. One of his Bozos was Willard Scott, who went on to become the longtime weatherman on NBC's Today show. Scott later wrote that when his Bozo show went off the air, "the local McDonald's people asked me to come up with a new character to take Bozo's place. So I sat down and created Ronald McDonald."

04/07/2008