Legendary rodeo clown Lecile Harris dead at 83

Lecile Harris

Legendary rodeo clown Lecile Harris died Wednesday after the final performance of the 55th annual Dixie National Rodeo Livestock Show and Rodeo in Jackson.

He was 83. 

Funeral services have not been announced.

Mr. Harris’ death comes at a tough time for the Ralph Morgan Rodeo family, said Linda Clayton, who directs marketing for the organization.

Ralph Morgan’s wife of 67 years, Elizabeth “Lib” Morgan, died on Jan. 27.

“We’ve lost two great people,” Clayton said. “Just a few weeks ago, Ms. Lib Morgan died, and now, Lecile.”

“He made everybody laugh,” Clayton said of Mr. Harris. “Young kids dressed up like him, wanting to be Lecile…he could just interact with anybody.”

Clayton said Mr. Harris planned to perform at a rodeo in Hattiesburg this weekend, and was scheduled to be at the Ralph Morgan Rodeo in Lauderdale in early April.

“He just loved it,” Clayton said.

Born in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi, Mr. Harris was inducted into numerous Hall of Fames including the Mississippi Rodeo Hall of Fame. He starred in the television program “Hee Haw” for five years and appeared in numerous movies and television shows. Mr. Harris was also nominated 10 times as the PRCA Act of the Year, and another 10 times as the PRCA Clown of the Year. 

“All of us involved at the Dixie National are truly saddened today,” Steve Hutton, the executive director of the Mississippi Fair Commission, said in a news release. “We all send our love and wishes to Lecile’s family, friends, and adoring fans around the world.”

“I started out riding bulls and it didn't take very long for me to figure out in order for me to make a living, I was going to have to do something else," Mr. Harris told The Meridian Star in 2015, as he celebrated his 60th year as a rodeo clown.

"I wasn't a very good bull rider. I was really only riding for the crowd because all I did was get run over.”

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