MIDTOWN ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) - He's made thousands laugh every year as the big top raises for Circus Flora, as Zino The Clown. Tonight we want to introduce to the man behind the makeup.
FOX2 Multi Media Journalist Stan Dawid, shows why performing is literally in his blood.
St Louis has a knack for adopting athletes and artist. None, more loved, than Nino the Clown. Nino has been appearing with Circus Flora in St. Louis off and on for the last 26 years and has won the hearts of St. Louisans.
But strip away the costume, put down the comedic veneer, and your left with a young man of rugged good looks, anchored in the rich history of the entertainment world and his families place in that world.
'I’m Giovanni Zoppe um my family has been part of the circus for over seven generations now. My dad came over in forty eight to be part of the movie 'the greatest show on earth'
'Cecile B. DeMille was shooting the movie , so Orson Wells brought Cecile B. DeMille to Europe to see my dad perform, he fell in love with my dad and insisted that my dad be in the movie.'
But Aberto turned DeMille down. So, how did Cecile B. DeMille convince Giovanni`s father to appear in the movie? At Alberto's insistence, De Mille promised him a rare commodity in a post war Europe, an elephant.
'It replaced my father’s popularity in the show and still sold tickets.'
Over the years Giovanni refined his circus skills, finally settling on his iconic character Nino.
'I took the name Nino because Nino is my child self I would say in a way. He`s me but he`s not me. Actually Nino is me and right now I`m playing a character. Because I can`t be Nino right now. But again it`s not physical it`s more about who Nino is inside. He`s growing up, Nino`s growing up a little bit, and it`s kind of sad, I’m kind of sad about it, but I`m not going to stop it. It is what it is.
While Zoppe love the life he`s chosen. He often worries that the true art of circus, is fading away.
'The circuses now in Vegas and stuff, their multibillion dollar things but what circus is family, I think circus and family are basically the same word. You can`t have a circus unless you have family on both sides of the ring.
Nino's son is also part of the act.
During a recent visit, he charmed our morning crew and had a big affect on our audience, just like Nino has for years.