Roly Bain, English priest and clown, Died at 62

  Actors, Religion

David Roualeyn Findlater “Roly” Bain was born on January 18, 1954, and died on August 11, 2016.

He was an English priest and clown.

He preached and performed as Holy Roly.

Bain helped set up the organisation Holy Fools.

Following his job as a parish priest, Bain decided to convey the Christian message through a different route, inspired by his lifelong love of clowns.

Roly Bain’s father had written a biography of the famous clown Joseph Grimaldi.

When he was still a young boy, Bain had loved the sad-faced clown Coco.

Then he took a clown’s training and became a free-lance clown-priest, presenting the Gospel message through jokes and pratfalls.

Bain performed in churches, conference halls, hospitals, schools, football fields, and prisons.

Roly would enter the venue on a unicycle, open with the invocation “Let us play!”, and preach while balancing on (or falling from) a slackrope, a speciality of Bain.

Just Like Coco, Bain performed as an Auguste, a clumsy character who is on the receiving end of water buckets and accidents, and who often works as a foil to the more clever and arrogant stage personality of the white-faced clown.

The Auguste role allowed him to provide a mirror to everyday personalities, if it was not too exaggerated, said bain apparently.

Roly Bain often took on the stock character roles of the Jester and the Vulnerable Lover.

Bain performed routines like juggling and egg-smashing and blew soap bubbles. According to his website, he had custard-pied ten bishops, and “most were grateful – or at least happy to play”.

Bain then traced the origins of his clown ministry to the “holy fools” and “feasts of fools” of the Middle Ages, and quoted Saint Paul saying “We are fools for Christ.” (1 Corinthians 4:10)

Roly Bain wrote several books: Fools Rush In (1993), Clowning Glory (1995, with Patrick Forbes), and Playing the Fool (2001), a memoir.

During 1994 he was named Clown of the Year by Clowns International, and in 1999 he received Clowns International’s Slapstick prize.

Roly was married to the former Jane Smith in 1984; they separated in 2008, but the couple had two sons.

He died due to cancer.

Roly Bain passed away at 62 years old.