Robyn Coburn on her father:
According to my mother, during his youth Dad traveled around Europe with various circuses, leaving Germany in his early twenties to escape the Nazi regime. I know that he spent WWII in Melbourne, Australia, interned as an enemy alien. I’m told that he took charge of the camp entertainment committee.
He spent some of the post war years of the late 40’s in the US. At one time he was hired as part of a big production, and didn’t discover until days before his booking that the show was on ice! He rented a rink from closing time until dawn for several nights to learn to ice skate and incorporate skating into his act. Later he toured with the Harlem Globe Trotters in Europe as the half-time show.
He met my mother, a singer some 16 years his junior, back in Australia in the early 50’s. They spent about 15 years touring around Europe and Asia with a double act, working in cabaret and variety night club venues. They were billed as “Elimar and Louise”. They were booked to tour Korea with a Bob Hope USO show, before I was born, but Dad contracted malaria and was hospitalized for a slow convalescence at the 121 Evac Hospital in Seoul, often mentioned in the TV series, M*A*S*H*. I still have photos from this event.
When I was a toddler, Mum and Dad again worked as the Harlem Globe Trotter’s half-time entertainment. We toured Europe including what was then called “behind the Iron Curtain”, Czechoslovakia. We traveled all over with his rig and all his props. He ended his juggling/wire career in Hong Kong in the mid sixites, his immense talent finally overcome by alcoholism. My mother bought him a ticket back to Australia where he worked on the fringes of carnie life for some years.
His most prized possession was a medal, awarded him by some European royal in the fifties, a heavy enameled cross about 2-3 inches across which he wore on a chain around his neck most of the time.
Mum and Dad’s act comprised three sections. First Dad would juggle using balls, tennis rackets, and clubs and do a routine with a bunch wooden cubes. Mum would toss him stuff. Then Mum would sing, her style a fusion of Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland with some French songs thrown in for good measure, while the rig was set up behind the curtain. Then Dad would perform on his wire, juggling and using numerous small hoops on his arms and one leg. Again Mum would toss the rings, he would get them all spinning then do a bit where he would throw a ball to the audience and they would throw it back for him to catch on a stick held in his mouth.
I hope you can use this information to add to the website of famous jugglers. I have some photos of them, and some old news clippings that show him on his wire with the rings which I would be happy to scan and forward to you if you like.
Robyn L. Coburn
Robyn wrote in late November 2007:
My uncle in Australia, to whom I sent the link to my father juggling, has sent me this amazing resource:
... (the directions to get there had broken, but James, Robyn's husband, found a link:) http://tinyurl.com/chh3a49
Robyn wrote "Neither of those women are my mom, but there is a pic of her in a crown picture later."
Copies of the actual interment documents show my father's birthday October 18, 1917 and that the camp he was in was in Brisbane, not Melbourne as I thought. Also shown are my grandparents' names, August and Martha, which gives me a whole lot more to go on in trying to track down my European relatives. Occupation: Music Hall Artiste.
His belongings are listed as:
So here is another amazing connection, a new resource for me (I'm off to look up everyone in my family) and maybe a couple of edits for accuracy to the bio document.
Note from Sandra:
Earlier versions of this page said that Robyn's dad was one of nine brothers. In July 2012 she got different information and I've changed it above, accordingly. Robyn wrote:
Amazing things have been happening thanks to Facebook, and I am now in contact with my cousin Barbara Buschmann-Kothe in Germany. She is the daughter of one of my father's brothers, so the same generation as me. She has been able to give me some information about my father that sheds new light on his biography, the main piece of information being that he was the youngest of only three brothers - so who knows where that piece of confusion came from. Would it be possible to make some changes to the info you have on the webpage, at your convenience?