La Norma Fox
Inducted into the Ring of Fame: 1989
Circus Profession: Aerialist
La Norma Fox
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. During her 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.
La Norma 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.