He’s played with the big and the big internationally, attended charity events raising thousands of pounds, and captivated audiences around the world.
Yet for Ringwood-based clown Sammy Sunshine, the most important part of his career has been making millions of children laugh.
He was born in 1931, the second youngest by ten years. His mother died when he was only five years old and his father had to raise ten children on his own.
But a trip to Buffalo Bill Cody’s Circus in King’s Park, Bournemouth, during Sam’s infancy turned out to be a ray of light, which accompanied him throughout his life.
His first big breakthrough came aboard Lord Mountbatten’s flagship in 1953, during the Suez Crisis, when Frankie Howerd arrived on board.
Sam, who was in the Navy at the time, took the stage and performed with Frankie – dazzling audiences and Frankie with his comedic gift.
From then on, Sam became determined to brighten the lives of the children.
Over the next five decades, he visited orphans around the world, giving thousands of children more love in an hour than they had ever known before.
Sammy, who has worked with TV stars like Christopher Biggins and Danny La Rue, was invited to entertain the children aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2, where he came face to face with Princess Diana.
He rushed over to Diana and offered her his collapsible flower on behalf of the RSPCC – the Royal Society for the Protection of Clowns.
Sammy Sunshine was well known locally, performing at many events including the annual Somerley Show and the Ringwood Carnival.
In 2013, Sammy cut the ribbon for his Variety and Clown exhibit at Sandy Balls Holiday Village in Godshill near Fordingbridge, which showed some of the highlights of his 50-year career.
It was also a chance for him to try and break a world record as he made himself the largest pair of clown shoes in the world and then walked around them to enthusiastic applause.
Sammy Rowe hung up his big clown boots soon after, but many locals still fondly remember the character he created and played.