LaNorma Fox Information courtesy of Circus4Youth and Circus Fans Association of
Mrs. Norma Fox started in circus at age thirteen. She says, “I
got into circus after I was in ballet school, I knew a lady who needed a
partner for a balancing act,” – as it turned out, balancing didn’t work
out for Norma because she was so much smaller than her partner- “so she
taught me how to do single trapeze”. Norma had five brothers and five
sisters. They were all raised in a large city in Denmark called Randers, but
often spent part of their summers on their grandparents farm. When asked
about how she liked being on a farm, Norma replied “I was scared of the
cows when I was a little girl, their faces were cute but they always scared
me and I never got too close or did any farm work”.
Growing up in Europe
was not a challange for Norma. She always loved to fish, “Fishing with
my dad was a great part of my childhood”. As a professional circus
performer, she excelled in her career and was very well suited for her spot
on single trapeze. Norma soon became known as “La Norma” and
traveled many places to work with different circuses. Her favorite circus to
work with was Ringling Bros. Barnum &Bailey Circus (1949 – 1951) In
1951 La Norma was selected to work as a stunt double for actress Betty Hutton
in the Oscar winning movie “The Greatest Show on Earth”. Throughout
her carrer she often did 2 – 3 shows a day and she commented, “It
doesn’t matter how you feel, you just have to perform”. I guess that’s a
circus tradition, but who would miss out on the chance to show everyone how
skilled you are.
In the early 1960’s La Norma performed on the Clyde Beatty –
Cole Bros. Circus and was featured in a one hour TV documentrary for NBC
called “Project 20…CIRCUS”. When traveling around the world you
can learn many languages and Norma sure did!She learned French, German,
Swedish, and English with her native tounge being Danish.
professional circus career La Norma traveled to Paris and was able to perform
in the big top they had set up under the Eiffel Tower. Plus, the Prime
Minister of France came to watch he perform! She made her own wardrobe that
had many colorful feathers and beautiful sequins. If you ever watched La
Norma perform you will be absolutely stunned! The tricks she did on the high
single trapeze are stunning and seemingly impossible. If someone had told me
what she could do, I wouldn’t believe them, but when I saw what she had
performed on a DVD that she showed us, all I could say was “WOW!”
Others from Sailor circus were equally amazed. “Traveling around I loved
to watch all the circus acts, especially high wire. It was like a family
where ever I went,” she says. While she traveled around the world to
Hawaii, Paris and many other places, there were many animals, horses, bears,
chimps, and her favorite, house cats. Now after her career La Norma has six
cats at her home, Birgit, Itty-Bitty, Blue, Houdini, Domino and Raymond.
LaNorma retired in 1974 while she was in her forties. Her last act was the
“Space Act”. In this act she was on a single trapeze hanging from a
rotating space satellite attached to a rocket ship. After she retired she
taught many kinds of trapeze to young students, and even now has many people
ask her to teach them.
Norma has lived all around Florida, in Bradenton,
Tampa, and now Sarasota. She often visits my home circus, Sarasota Sailor
Circus, and “never misses a show”.
Since she retired in 1974 she
has been making circus ceramics. Different things like aerialists, acrobats,
animals and such as a hobby. While visiting Sailor Circus she remarked,
“It’s so full of talent, and you all wish to become better and
better”. Even now La Norma can still do some tricks on her trapeze.
“Once I’m up there it’s all so different and feels like home. I’ve just
been there so much”.Though not from a circus family, La Norma has enriched
all of the circus performers who have come in her path, and has taught others
as she was taught.