History of the Bo-Dino Scholarship
Dean Richard Weiss — Bo Dino By Tango aka Leah Estrin
“Bo-Dino” was a gentle man, born Dean Richard Weiss in 1937. Dean Richard Weiss lived a normal life, doing normal things, i.e. he married a lady by the name of Mary, had children, and worked – he was Vice President of a Chicago area bank – until 1974 when he was asked by a friend to help entertain at an orphanage. Dean dressed as a tramp, put on make up and Bo-Dino was born. Dean had a wonderful time entertaining the children. In an article that was published in Clowning Around, Volume 20, No. 4, Richard Snowberg quoted Dean Richard Weiss as saying “Whether it rekindled my childhood dreams or merely punctured the bubble of pomposity I had been living in, I don’t know. But I do know that I left that room happier than I had been in years and I was determined to recapture, develop and repeat the experiment as soon and as often as possible.”
Richard then did as most of us have done and continue to do, he began to study. He studied clowning, magic, anything that he could then use in his character of Bo-Dino. He began performing at friends’ birthday parties, doing hospital and nursing home visits. He developed Bo-Dino’s character and charm. Bo-Dino grew and so did his ‘career.’ Numerous articles were written and published in the Chicago Tribune. As Bo-Dino’s ‘fame’ spread, Dean’s superiors at the bank became increasingly unsupportive. Dean was not projecting the image that they felt was proper for a bank officer. Dean was finally given the choice – his job as Vice President at the Bank, which meant giving up clowning or giving up his job as Vice President.
Dean made a choice after discussing it with his spouse, Mary and Bo-Dino became a full time artiste. His reputation grew and before long he was working solely as Bo-Dino. Mary made him a new costume, creating the long tie, the heart stitched to his rear and placing a daisy in his hat – the heart and daisy became his trademarks. Bo-Dino was a caring clown, performed one man shows, and did company events, one of which was The Brunswick Recreation Centers picnic for muscular dystrophy victims. After auditioning, Bo-Dino became a Brunswick Goodwill Ambassador entertaining and encouraging people to bowl in 1977.
He co-authored a book entitled Follow The Rainbow with Betty Bryant which sold for $5.95. Follow The Rainbow was/is part an instructional book on clowning and autobiographical. Richard Snowberg stated in his article entitled “Who Was Dean Richard “Bo-Dino” Weiss?” in Clowning Around, Volume 20, No. 4
In 1986, Bo-Dino was scheduled to be an instructor at Clown Camp at the University of Wisconsin but unfortunately for all of us Dean Weiss died unexpectedly in an auto accident in late 1985. Mary, his widow, donated Bo- Dino’s props to Clown Camp where they were auctioned off and the monies used to start our very own World Clown Association Bo-Dino Scholarship. This scholarship was “the very first scholarship program for clowns” established.
. . . Bo-Dino would “tell “his” audience, if you’ve always wanted to do something different with your life, do it!” . . . “There’s no such thing as the impossible dream. Anything can be made to happen if you try hard enough.” So “if you’ve got a dream and you’ve pushed it to the back of your mind or put it on a shelf somewhere, bring it out again. Dust it off, shine it up and carry it proudly wherever you go. Every wish can come true if you don’t give up.”
At the end of the day, Dean Richard “Bo Dino” Weiss would often say “My day is complete, I heard a child laugh” today.