He was not the first Bozo, nor his creator, but Larry Harmon is credited with making the iconic clown a household name. He appeared as the character for decades, but his major contribution was in refining the clown's appearance, then licensing the image across the country. He trained hundreds of actors to play the role, playing it himself off and on for over 50 years. Harmon received an unfortunate pie in the face in 2004, when the International Clown Hall of Fame (yes, there is one) removed him from their exhibit when the original Bozo complained.
I am not particularly fond of traditional clowns; they remind me of mimes, which I REALLY hate. I prefer the talents of more modern clowns such as Bill Irwin. But Harmon deserves some credit for helping to create the iconic image so prevalent at children's parties, pizza joints, and in McDonald's commercials.
I hope that Bozo rests in peace, perhaps crammed into a tiny clown casket with Clarabell, Coco, Crusty, and Kelly (Emmett).
Maybe WJM's Chuckles the Clown will be welcoming him to that circus in the sky, with the very words with which Chuckles himself bit the dust: