Keith Douglas Crary of Studio City, CA, passed away on Sunday, June 23, 2019. Keith was a graduate of Bay View High School (Milwaukee, WI) and of the first class of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College in 1968; he toured with The Greatest Show on Earth from 1969-1974. Keith moved on to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus World theme park in Florida. In time, he found his way to Hollywood where he worked with former clown and make-up artist Verne Langdon. Together they created and produced the "Land of a 1000 Faces" attraction on the Universal Studios Tour. Keith soon found his niche in network television. He spent many years on Days of Our Lives, The Leeza Show, Extra! and many others. He was nominated for an Emmy Award 16 times, winning five. He also received one Primetime Emmy nomination for Wild Texas Wind starring Dolly Parton. Keith was adored for his unique style and talent and is credited by many artists in his Local union for being the person who gave them their 'first break' into the business. His longtime client and friend Leeza Gibbons wrote of her friend: Keith was simply the best make-up artist I ever worked with. We were always in awe of his talents honed from his years as a professional clown. He was sparkly and happy and ready for whatever was next. The first one to show up for work, dressed to impress complete with matching bling. I lived for his outfits. I join a long list of family and friends who loved him deeply. No one worked harder or cared more. He made everything special. Keith was one of those rare souls whose magnificent artistry was honored and respected, but the Emmys and awards only showed his professional accomplishments. His true colors were seen flying high when he sprinkled his fairy dust on his friends and talked about the ones he loved like Arty and his family. To say we'll miss him is a weak statement of sentiment. To say he was loved is a powerful statement of fact.Each year, Keith traveled back to Milwaukee's The Great Circus Parade to make up Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine as the Grand Clown. Keith himself was always a featured clown in the parade. Parade goers looked forward to each year's ever more spectacular costumes and he became a favorite in their hearts. In 1999, he received the "Lifetime of Laughter" award from the International Clown Hall of Fame. Keith will be missed for his zest and ability to take everything past better to exceptional. His family and friends will cherish their memories of love and laughter with Keith and his spirit will continue in the laughter of all! A special thank you goes out to all the medical staff at UCLA, friends and coworkers whose support and love was endless! Friends and family celebrated Keith's life in Los Angeles July 20th. Keith was preceded in death by his parents Perle and Ruth Crary. Keith is survived by his husband, Arthur Talaugon who was the love of his life. He is further survived by his four beloved sisters: Carolyn (Dan) McCauley, Elaine (Bob) Murphy, Jean Lanahan and Karen Crary. Also his nephews and nieces: Adam Kuchler, Jaime (Adrian) Chapin, Kristin (Jason) Jasper, Kevin McCauley, and his great-nephews and great-nieces.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Aug. 22 to Aug. 24, 2019.