Juggler's World: Vol. 39, No. 2

Other Notable Women Jugglers

Selma Braatz: One of the earliest European supporters of the IJA, she later emigrated to the U.S. where her home was a port of call for touring jugglers. She died under such sad circumstances that there was no money for a headstone. Many members, led by Dennis Soldati, remedied the shame with an IJA fundraising effort.

Her act included clever moves with hat, cane and gloves. She juggled five and six balls and three pool cues. One of her routines began with her lounging in a hammock. Receiving tennis equipment, she began a series of balances and juggles. She then did manipulations of a high hat, umbrella and gloves. Using a newspaper fluttering from a library stick-holder, she balanced books on her fingers and on the stick perched on her head. She then juggled Japanese sticks and ball, three clown hats, billiard balls and cue. For her finale, she stripped to her bloomers and juggled color changing fire torches with continuous doubles behind her back.

Lottie Brunn: A woman of unsurpassed accomplishments in the field of juggling, she learned the art with her brother, Francis Brunn, in pre-war Germany. At age 14 she could do eight rings. She came to America with Francis in 1948 to play the Ringling Brothers circus. She began working solo in 1951, and appeared alone in Ringling's center ring in 1957 as "The World's Fastest Woman Juggler." Her son, Michael Chirrick, also became a professional juggler. She now lives in New Jersey, performing only occasionally.

Francine and Rita Rose: Billing themselves as the Juggling Gems, these two women were surely the youngest and most accomplished jugglers to join the IJA at the time. Coached by their father, Tex Rose, a veteran of western acts, they sprang full-blown onto the juggling scene almost too early. In order to continue their education, they often had to turn down contracts, once even passing on an offer to replace Francis Brunn, surely a "highest low point" in a career.

Shelby Howe: Another prodigy, she was only 10 years old and juggling on a high unicycle for TV when Harry Lind signed her as an IJA member.

Dell O'Dell: So talented as both a juggler and a magician that both communities claim her as their own. She married Charles Carrer, another professional juggler. As Dottie O'Dell, she was Pryde Shannon's first partner before he teamed with Alice Daye. She had a weekly TV show in California for several years, and owned a magic store in Hollywood.

Judy Finelli: Not of the early era, but our first female president deserves the final bow. She is now working with the Pickle Family Circus out of San Francisco.

Violet Carlson Beahan: Daughter of Harry Lind's second wife, Violet was a linchpin of IJA administration from the beginning as secretary, "Newsletter" editor and later as historian. An accomplished juggler herself, she performed briefly with Lind and Joe Hardy in New York City. She was a single parent for several years, raising Bud Carlson, Stu Raynolds's juggling partner, alone until her marriage to John Beahan, a juggler and song-and-dance man. Her dedication and efficiency on behalf of the IJA are still remembered.

Trixie La Rue: One of the finest female jugglers ever, her specialty was ice shows, where she featured attractive costuming and six-plate juggling while bouncing a ball on her head. Born in Budapest as Martha Firschke, she was training to be an acrobat in a high act, but fear of heights turned her to juggling. She fled Europe with her family in 1938 and launched a prosperous career. Described by Roger Montandon as "a petite, five-foot blonde charmer with just a bare hint of European accent," she married Esco La Rue in 1946 and settled in Oklahoma, where he had a children's television show.

Eva Crosby and Amy Dunham: Two wives of active members, they were everywhere when needed, particularly in the chaos of conventions.

Other Notable Women Jugglers / Index, Vol. 39, No. 2 / jis@juggling.org
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