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Old 11-25-07, 12:42 PM   #1
Butterfly Man
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Thumbs Up Konrad Thurano

Konrad Thurano died of natural causes on Tuesday, November 20 at his home in Denmark. He was 98 years old.

Eulogies are typically full of praise and seldom address the faults of the person who's left our company ... this one will be no different. Konrad wasn't a perfect saint, no man is (and I sometimes suspect that most women aren't either). His family or former performing partners could probably tell tales of impatience or talk about mistakes that the man made in his life but from me you'll hear about the sweet wise man who served as such a model for me and other performers as we watched him nightly getting ready to perform, performing, and heading back to the performer's apartments.

He was an acrobat almost his entire life. As a young teenager in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1924 (after the War to End All Wars and before the build-up to the next one) he was recruited into a performance troupe by other acrobats who saw him on the street. His family agreed and he went on the road and learned the trade. He traveled apolitically across borders to entertain people with his physical skills and sense of humor.

When it became too ugly to ignore, Konrad left Germany and settled in South Africa where he raised a family. As a German national in that British Commonwealth country, Konrad was put in a detainment camp where he did farm work until he was taken into a local circus and given permission to ply his real trade by traveling with a tent show.

After returning to Europe and performed with his family in several circuses and other show venues, he moved to Las Vegas and with his son, John. Together, they evolved a comic version of the act that played well for the rest of his life.

The boy, John, performed the tightwire act and Konrad would be introduced as an assistant who exasperated his son by misunderstanding requests. He made outrageous demands while John balanced and did remarkable and dangerous stunts on the wire. Eventually, this aging man would entangle himself in the act and stun the audience with skills they didn't expect from the comic.

Well into his 80s and then 90s Konrad simply preferred to be working. Backstage he could be encouraged to tell tales of the business as it had evolved and changed over the many years of his life and there are performers today who will tell you remarkable stories related to them by a man who remembered the details of life on the road in nine different decades.

We were all made richer by his presence backstage and the actual tears in the eyes of laughing audience members as they watched this charming old man tease and trick his son in the act were a testimony of the strength of his personality.

He has earned his rest, if rest is what you get after this life ... but my guess is that he'll find a way to keep performing and to look for ways to produce the celestial music of laughter if there's an audience to be had in the newest place he's having a chance to see.

Konrad Thurano said, “If you are forced to do something, there is no love behind it. If you want to do something, do it with love and passion or don't do it at all."

Tschüss Konrad,

excerpt from Tnoddy eulogy to Konrad Thurano
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