TV & Radio personality.
Art Cervi was born on September 4, 1934 in Mt. Pleasant, New York. His family moved to Michigan in the 1940s and Art moved back and forth (living with a grandmother in New York when there) until he permanently located to Michigan in the early 1950s. Cervi started his career in radio and in 1963 co-created a show called Teen Town that aired on Channel 9 CKLW and worked behind the scenes as Channel 9’s talent coordinator and head of guest relations.
It was in 1967 that CKLW was on the hunt for a regional Bozo the Clown to star in the franchised Bozo’s Big Top. Although never an on-the-air personality, people who worked with Art knew he would be right for the part and convinced him to at least audition. The audition consisted of being made up into a clown and filmed interacting with a small group of kids…and Art Cervi was a natural at it.
Art Cervi was Ontario and Michigan’s Bozo the Clown from 1967 through 1979. After a successful run at CKLW, in 1977 the show was cancelled after the station became CBET under the CBC and national syndication failed. Cervi wasn’t ready to let the successful character die, so he bought the franchise and attempted to set up shop at WJBK (Channel 2) in Detroit. He spent another couple of years as Bozo while attempting to nationally syndicate, but finally had to pack up the Big Top in 1979. Cervi occasionally would bring Bozo out for guest appearances, but officially retired Bozo in the mid-90s.
Mr. Cervi attended his first convention in 2016, the RetroRama Classic Collectibles Con, where he received the “Northern Star Award” for his achievements in TV and positive effect on generations of children. Art Cervi moved to Novi, Michigan and remained there until his death, at age 86, on February 15, 2021.
Castelnero, G. (2009). TV Land Detroit. (4 ed., pp. 107-126) Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.: University Of Michigan Press.