Circus Ring of Fame Wheel Plaque

Alfredo Codona

Inducted into the Ring of Fame: 1995

Circus Profession: Trapeze Artist

Born: 1897

Died: 1933

alfredo corona Circus Ring Of Fame Foundation inductee plaque

Alfredo Codona (October 7, 1893 – July 30, 1937) was a Mexican trapeze
artist who was a member of the world-famous “Flying Codonas” and
was the first aerialist to continually perform the triple somersault. Alfredo
came from an itinerant performing family who emigrated from Italy in the
1790s to the UK, where Alfredo’s grandfather Henry (Enrico) Codona was born.
The original Codoni or Cardoni family name evolved in the early to mid 1800s
into the name Codona, which is widely recognised in Punch and Judy, circus
and of fairground folklore – Codona is practically a household name in the
entertainment business in Scotland where the family owns a large static
fairground site in Aberdeen and other members of the family travel around the
country with portable amusement rides. Codona was born in Sonora , Mexico ,
to a circus trapeze family that became famous in the Ringling Brothers Circus
. His father owned their circus and his mother, Hortense Buislay, came from a
great family of trapeze performers. He began appearing in the circus at
7½ months when his father, a flyer, balanced him on his hand for
the opening act. By 1913 Edward had formed a family act that included
Alfredo, his brother Abelardo (known as Lalo), and his sister Victoria. [1]
Alfredo married his first wife, Clara Curtin (also an aerialist) in 1917
after she left her husband. They were divorced in 1927. In 1928 Codona
married aerialist Lillian Leitzel , who died in 1931, aged 39, in Copenhagen,
Denmark when one of her hand rings snapped and she fell to a concrete floor.
Both were tempestuous, star performers whose personalities were well matched.
Alfredo was famed for his triple somersault, which he regularly incorporated
in his act. [2] He was the first male performer to do so. [3] Codona later
married a member of their trapeze act, Vera Bruce, in 1932. He was featured
in the 1932 film Swing High (which is currently available to view on YouTube)
and was stunt double for Johnny Weissmuller in Tarzan the Ape Man as well as
its sequel Tarzan and His Mate . Alfredo continued to incorporate extremely
dangerous stunts into his act and in 1933, he suffered an injury that
prevented high aerial acts in the circus and retired from the trapeze in
1934. [4] Codona’s distress about his second wife’s death and inability to
perform led to the deterioration of his third marriage. He committed suicide
by gunshot in Long Beach, California , after shooting Vera Bruce during a
division of their property in front of her horrified mother (newspaper
accounts of the day incorrectly stated that Vera was his second wife). [5]
She died the next day. [6] Codona was buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery at
Leitzel’s grave at his request. [7] Nowadays his family are travellers that
live in Scotland and travel in Scotland. He was portrayed by René
Deltgen in the 1940 Nazi German film Die drei Codonas (i.e. The Three Codonas