Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977)
3 user

Chuckles Bites the Dust 

Mary thinks that the death of Chuckles the Clown is nothing to laugh about--until she attends the funeral.


Joan Darling


James L. Brooks (created by), Allan Burns (created by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Mary Tyler Moore ... Mary Richards
Edward Asner ... Lou Grant
Gavin MacLeod ... Murray Slaughter
Ted Knight ... Ted Baxter
Georgia Engel ... Georgette Franklin
Betty White ... Sue Ann Nivens
John Harkins ... Rev. Burns


Mary is appalled with everyone's reaction to the death of their station co-workers Chuckles the Clown is killed. He was the Grand Marshall at a circus parade but having appeared as one of his TV characters, in the form of a peanut, is shelled by a rogue elephant. Murray in particular simply can't stop making jokes about it all and Mary thinks it's all inappropriate, despite Lou's claim that it's just a way of dealing with death. They all attend the memorial service but it's Mary who has trouble remaining solemn. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

clown | manic laughter | See All (2) »










Release Date:

25 October 1975 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MTM Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


"TV Guide" rated this the greatest TV episode of all time. See more »


Lou Grant: I don't want anybody to make any fuss. When I go, I just want to be stood outside in the garbage with my hat on.
See more »


Love Is All Around
Written and performed by Sonny Curtis
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User Reviews

A little song, a little dance . . .
8 July 2016 | by fredcdobbs5See all my reviews

WJM's Chuckles the Clown is at a parade dressed as "Peter Peanut" and, as Lou Grant so succinctly put it, "a rogue elephant tried to shell him". Poor Mary Richards is emotionally devastated because of Chuckles' death, but unfortunately shows it in some not-quite-appropriate ways, culminating in a meltdown at Chuckles' funeral.

This is probably the funniest episode of this terrific series, and continually makes the lists of Top 10 comedy episodes. It's not every sitcom that can make comedy gold out of someone's death, but they pull it off flawlessly here. Everything is just letter-perfect: the writing, the directing, the acting--even Murray, probably my least favorite character on the show, comes off well. It's Mary Tyler Moore's turn to shine here, and she's just perfect. There were some episodes of the series that didn't quite come off particularly well--not many, but some-- but this is definitely not one of them. Besides being the funniest episode in this series, it's quite possibly the single funniest episode of any series, period. It's about as close to perfection as you can get.

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