We are sad to announce that Rudi Schweitzer, the well-known juggler from Frankfurt, Germany, passed away on June 22nd, 2020. Rudi, who was born on May 7th, 1939, specialized in using a derby hat, top hats, cigar boxes, and three balls. He initially worked as a locksmith before being trained in juggling by his uncle, Albert Schweitzer, who was a professional juggler. Rudi made many television appearances, including three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and two on The Hollywood Palace. You can click here to see one of his appearances on The Hollywood Palace. Rudi appeared in many of the best theaters and circuses in Europe.
Rudi Schweitzer made his debut in 1958 and performed until at least 1992. Rudi competed in the 1979 Circus World Championships. You can see his act from the competition by clicking here.
Rudi was known for his eccentric style, holding his cigar boxes in front of his face, humming and singing while juggling, and unusual body movements. He was the first juggler known to do multiple pirouettes with cigar boxes. His trick of balancing a derby and then turning it 180 degrees inch by inch was a unique skill. His hat and cigar box work was definitely world class.
Rudi commanded some of the highest pay of any juggler of his time. He spent 26 weeks performing at the Lido in Paris, worked in Las Vegas, and performed with top circuses such as Circus Sarrasani and Circus Roncalli.
Rudy Schweitzer was a very private person, but was known for his pleasant manner. We offer our condolences to his friends and family, including juggler Kristian Kristoff, who was mentored by Rudi.
A derby and cigar box used by Rudi Schweitzer are on display in the Museum of Juggling History.
Let’s take a look at some more photos and videos showcasing his great talent and career.