The famous Soviet circus artist Oleg Popov remains in the memory of many as "Sunny Clown". It was under this pseudonym that every inhabitant of the USSR knew him.
The history of life
The future star of the Soviet circus, Oleg Popov, was born on July 31, 1930, his father was a watchmaker, and his mother was a retoucher in a photo studio. The family did not live very richly. In addition, at the very beginning of the war, Oleg's father was imprisoned. An 11-year-old boy had to start earning money to help his mother. He sold soap, which was brewed by his neighbor in a communal apartment, for which he received a small percentage of sales. At the age of 12, he started working in the printing house of the Pravda newspaper, and then enrolled in a sports school in the acrobatics section. The trainings took place at the Wings of the Soviets Sports Palace. It was there that in 1944 he was noticed and offered to enter the Moscow School of Circus and Variety Art. He was accepted, at the school he began to study acrobatics, juggling and mastering other circus skills. After graduating from college in 1949, he began working at the Tbilisi Circus. Two months later, the young clown returned to the capital and continued his career at the Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard (now the Nikulin Circus). There, until 1953, he assisted the legendary clown Pencil. Oleg Popov entertained the audience between circus performances. It was at this time that wide trousers, a checkered cap and bright yellow shaggy hair appeared - attributes by which the "Sunny Clown" was subsequently recognized by everyone.
In 1955, Oleg Popov performed for the first time abroad, in Warsaw, and the next year they started talking about him in Europe. He was noticed while touring with the Moscow Circus in France, Belgium and England. The press called him a circus star. Oleg Konstantinovich became the goodwill envoy of the Soviet Union. He appeared at the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels, and in 1957 his performance was broadcast from Moscow on American television. He toured the United States in 1963 and 1972 with the Moscow Circus. In 1968, after Oleg's performance in Great Britain, he was called "The Sun Clown". In 1969, Oleg Popov was awarded the title of People's Artist of the USSR.
In the early 1970s, viewers also learned about Oleg Popov. Then the popular clown was invited to appear on the Sunday children's television program "Alarm Clock". The most famous reprises of "The Sun Clown" were "Sleep on a Wire", "Drowned Man", "Whistle", "Cook" and "Ray", in his performances he used elements of parodying, acrobatics, balancing act and juggling.
In 1981, Oleg Popov was awarded the Golden Clown Prize. She was personally presented to the comedian in Monte Carlo by Princess Grazia Patricia of Monaco.
During Perestroika and the subsequent collapse of the Union, Oleg emigrated to Germany, where he continued to perform under the pseudonym "Happy Hans". For 24 years, the artist has not been to his homeland, and only in 2015 he visited Russia and performed at the International Circus Prize "Master", held in Sochi. After that, the clown began performing at the arenas of Russian circuses. The audience greeted him very warmly, but fate decreed otherwise, at the age of 86, the artist died in his sleep. Oleg Popov was buried in the German town of Eglofstein in a clown costume.
Personal life of Oleg Popov
The first wife of the clown was the violinist Alexandra Ilyinichna. Popov met her at the circus in 1952. In the same year, the couple got married and had a daughter, Olga. In the footsteps of her father, the girl began to engage in circus art and entered the school. Soon she began to go on tour with her father. The girl performed at the arena with dancing on the wire. Unfortunately, Oleg's wife fell ill with cancer and died in 1990.
In Amsterdam, Popov met his future second wife Gabriela Lehman. She was 32 years younger than Oleg, but the big age difference did not prevent them from falling in love and getting married. In 1991, the couple legalized their relationship. Gabriela was always with Oleg Popov until his last day.