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Saying goodbye to the man behind 'Bungles the Clown'

He was a fixture on our station for 13 years and helped a generation of kids in Hampton Roads learn to laugh.

HAMPTON, Va. — For those of you who don’t remember, Bungles the Clown is a legend here at 13News Now.

It all began in 1959, the day WVEC switched to Channel 13. Bungles introduced shows and captivated kids for the next 13 years with a live, afternoon television show on our air.

People loved him and jumped at the opportunity to join in on the famous “Bungles Wave.”

While we said goodbye to the character decades ago, it wasn’t until recently that we had to say goodbye to the man behind the makeup.

Jerry Sandford passed away on February 11, 2020. He was 88 years old.

He was a fixture for kids as Bungles, but he also spooked adults as "Ronald the Ghoul" on the late-night Friday show "Shock Theatre."

Born in Petersburg in 1931, Sandford served as a Navy officer before taking a job as a radio announcer at WVEC in 1957. After retiring as Bungles, he went on to become director of community relations and clerk of the Hampton School board for 23 years. He also spent 11 years working in the communications department at Newport News Public Schools.

You may remember and cherish the makeup, the show, even the Bungle Wave... but it’s Jerry Sandford we’re truly going to miss.

There will be a Celebration of Life on Sunday, March 1, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Commanding General's Residence, 33 Fenwick Road in Fort Monroe. Because this is a historic property, no high heels are allowed.

In lieu of flowers, friends are requested to contribute to the American Red Cross or their favorite charity.

RELATED: History of WVEC-TV event at Hampton museum

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