Show Must Go on in Brazil. Arrelia Is Dead.

Arrelia, Brazil's most famous circus clownWaldemar Seyssel, better known as Arrelia, died today in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the age of 99. He had been taken to the Santa Bárbara Surgical Clinic on Friday because of a pneumonia. Arrelia was Brazil’s most famous clown.

He was the first clown to have a TV show in Brazil. Arrelia became famous with his program Circo do Arrelia (Arrelia’s Circus) which debuted at TV Paulista in 1951.


Seyssel was born in a family of circus performers, in Jaguariaiva, in the state of Paraná on December  31, 1905.


His grandfather, according to a story often repeated, was a noble from Grenoble, France, who fell in love with the daughter of a circus’s owner, a charming and beautiful equestrian malabarist.


Since he didn’t get his parents permission to marry the circus girl he abandoned everything to follow her and the circus.


Arrelia’s family came to Brazil with the Charles Brothers circus, which was set up in São Paulo. Waldemar’s father became the clown Pinga-Pulha.


When Waldemar’s grandfather went to Chile, Arrelia’s father together with the clown’s uncle created their own circus, the Irmãos Seyssel (Seyssel Brothers).


At first, Arrelia worked in the family circus as juggler. His nickname Arrelia, according to the clown himself, was given to him because he was an urchin always “arreliando” (teasing) people.


He started to work as clown in 1922, but the Arrelia character would appear only 5 years later, when he had to improvise when another clown didn’t show up for work.


Painted  and dressed in a rush, he was thrown into the ring. Arrelia fell down, and then got up limping, gesturing and grimacing. The public roared, laughed and applauded. A new star was born.


He was active as a clown until 1973. One of his most durable lines was the way he greeted his public saying: “Como vai, como vai, como vai, vai, vai? Muito bem, muito bem, muito bem, bem, bem. (How do you do, how do you do, how do you do, do, do? Very well, very well, very well, well, well.)

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