The passing of Johnny Fox was sad news for the sideshow and carnival community all along the East coast. The Slipper Room is hosting a tribute to the veteran performer today, February 1, at 7:00 pm.
Cardone the Magician is presenting the event. The performer spoke with Jim R. Moore about plans for the tribute and shared a few tales about the sword swallower and magician. (Content note: Cardone’s language does get a little feisty.)
Fox died in December after a fight with cancer. Not only was he a regular performer at both Coney Island and the Maryland Renaissance Festival, but he was also the long-time owner of the Freakatorium sideshow museum.
Sword-swallower and sideshow legend Johnny Fox has died from liver cancer at age 64. Fox had performed his act on The Late Show with David Letterman, as well as many years working at Coney Island and at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. He also ran the Freakatorium, a now-closed museum dedicated to sideshow culture from 1999 to 2005.
“He was one of the finest examples of a sideshow virtuoso as well as being a celebrity within our own culture,” said Patrick Wall, general manager for the Coney Island USA nonprofit.
Fox was a great inspiration to the sideshow community. “Gratitude and optimism and being content have gotten me through so much of my life, and if I can share those things with others and help each other out…we’re all in this crazy world together,” he told NPR in an October interview.