Lecile Harris was a legendary rodeo clown who entertained millions of fans with his humor and stunts for over six decades. He was also a TV personality who appeared on shows like Hee Haw and Walker, Texas Ranger. He was a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Rodeo Hall of Fame, and he won several awards for his clowning skills. He died on February 12, 2020, at the age of 83, after performing at the Dixie National Rodeo and Livestock Show in Jackson, Mississippi. What was the cause of death of Lecile Harris? How did he live his life and legacy as a rodeo clown? This article will explore the life and death of a rodeo clown legend.
The Life of Lecile Harris
Lecile Harris was born on November 6, 1936, in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi. He grew up in a farming family and developed a love for horses and rodeo. He started riding bulls and broncs when he was 15, and he soon discovered his talent for clowning. He said in an interview with Tour Collierville magazine, “I was always a cut-up in school, and I found out I could make more money clowning than I could riding.”
Harris began his career as a rodeo clown and bullfighter in the 1950s, traveling across the country and working with various rodeo companies. He was known for his fearless and daring acts, such as jumping over bulls, riding motorcycles, and setting himself on fire. He also had a knack for making people laugh with his jokes, pranks, and costumes. He said in an interview with Heavy.com, “I just try to make people happy. That’s all I’ve ever tried to do.”
Harris became a household name when he joined the cast of Hee Haw, a country music and comedy show, in 1971. He stayed on the show for five years, performing skits and gags with other stars like Roy Clark and Buck Owens. He also appeared on other TV shows and movies, such as The Dukes of Hazzard, Cannonball Run II, and The Fall Guy. He was featured in several documentaries and books about rodeo and clowning, and he wrote his own autobiography, titled Lecile: This Ain’t My First Rodeo, in 2015.
Harris was married twice and had four children. He lived in Collierville, Tennessee, where he had a ranch with horses and cattle. He was active in his community and supported various charities and causes. He was a devout Christian and a proud American. He said in an interview with The Commercial Appeal, “I love this country. I love the flag. I love the national anthem. I love God.”
The Death of Lecile Harris
Lecile Harris died on February 12, 2020, after performing at the 55th Dixie National Rodeo and Livestock Show in Jackson, Mississippi. He had been suffering from the flu and felt lightheaded after his performance. He went to his hotel room to rest, and was found unresponsive the next morning. The cause of death was a heart attack, according to the coroner’s report.
Harris had performed at the Dixie National Rodeo 35 times during his career, and he considered it his home rodeo. He had no plans to retire, and he said in an interview with WAPT, “I’m going to quit when they throw dirt in my face.” He had also been scheduled to be inducted into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame later in 2020.
Harris’s death was mourned by his family, friends, fans, and colleagues, who remembered him as a talented and beloved rodeo clown, a generous and kind man, and a loyal and faithful friend. His funeral was held on February 18, 2020, at the Collierville United Methodist Church, and his burial was at the Magnolia Cemetery in Collierville. His legacy lives on through his work and his influence, and he is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential rodeo clowns of all time.