jeudi 14 mars 2019

Circus legend Jeanne Sleeter

Jeanne Sleeter Singleton
1930 – 2019

Veteran circus performer Jeanne Sleeter Singleton died March 8, 2019, in Spanish Springs, Nevada at the age of 88.
Born in Peru, Indiana on July 25, 1930, she was the daughter of Eldred Henry Sleeter and Mitzie-Belle Moore, aerialists with the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. A former resident of Bloomington, Illinois, she became a trapeze artist while still a child, taught by her father, along with Art Concello and her uncle Tuffy Genders. She was also the niece of clown Emmett Kelly.
In the 1940s and 1950s her trapeze act was featured on a number of circuses including Clyde Beatty-Russell Bros, the Clyde Beatty Railroad Circus, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. She also presented elephants with the Ringling circus in the 1950s.
In 1951, while performing with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Jeanne was cast as a double for both Betty Hutton and Gloria Graham, two of the stars of Cecil B. DeMille’s film The Greatest Show on Earth. Her performance in the Academy Award-winning film caught the attention of Hollywood, but she told a reporter at the time that while she was flattered with the attention, she was destined for a career in the circus ring, “It’s quite a temptation, and lots of young people would love it,” she told columnist Vivian Brown, “but nothing can compare with the circus when you are born into it.”
The pretty blonde was a favorite of circus photographers and she was featured in a number of national publications performing various stunts, including a 1953 article in The Saturday Evening Post where she recreated a scene from DeMille’s movie where the elephant Minyak placed her foot inches from her face.
After retiring from the circus ring in 1960, Jeanne Sleeter Singleton raised three children and left a legacy of six grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. Her husbands, performer Gaspar Ferroni and Raymond Singleton preceded her in death.
Jeanne Sleeter Singleton continued her association with the circus until the end, corresponding with friends, fans and historians who remembered her from her days in the circus ring. Although the circus had evolved since she retired nearly 60 years ago, she never lost her love for it. As she told a reporter in 1959 while performing with Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey, while she missed the days of the big tent shows, “the circus hasn’t changed, and never will.”

Source : Donald Covington