Mills Brothers Circus in United States

Mills Brothers Circus

Last elephant left1966
Closed down1966
Country United States


Key People


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
1950-1953: Hugo Schmitt
(chief elephant trainer)

Elephant keepers -: Virginia Noel
Record history
History of updates2010-05-12

Latest document update2020-10-30 07:03:11
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Mills Brothers Circus, United States . The last elephant left in 1966. Mills Brothers Circus closed down in 1966.

Comments / picturesThe show was home to two males Mitzie and Fritz, both purchased in 1941 from the Haag Brothers Circus. Mitzie later died there but Fritz went to the Mexico City Zoo in 1942 (via Snake King) and was featured there for many years.

The Mills Brothers Circus presented a single elephant act for years until acquiring six more in 1950: Lena, Dixie, Bunny & India from the Polack Brothers Circus and Ringling Trilby & Wallace Jenny from the Ringling show. This was the first of Hugo Schmitts four season stint with the Mills Brothers. The following season they acqured two more Ringling elephants, Minnie and Lelabardi. The Herd had thinned by 1962 with only Burma, Bunny, Lelabardi, Jennie & Una (Little Burma) remaining. Minnie had left for Circus Vargas. Una had never been trained for the ring due to a crippled front leg.

In 1962, Jon "before Tarzan" Zerbini was the teenaged lion trainer with his Dad outside the cage. Col. Herriott had a 12 horse liberty act, the camels and llamas, and was also the announcer. Virgil "K.Y." Seagraves left part way through the 1962 season, leaving Lee Keener in charge of the Herd.

Mills brought many acts to this country that went to RBBB later. Most shows including RBBB arrainged visas for the length of the contract leaving people to either leave the country or make new arrangements with INS on their own. Mills got the acts they brought in residence, or at least long term visas, allowing them to go on to other work in this country after finishing with Mills. Some of the people thus benifited had already had contact with RBBB and were able to get booked over there when at liberty.
Mark Horton

Records about Mills Brothers Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at
After return to U.S. "Lelabardi" was sold, along with several other elephants, to Mills Bros. Circus where she remained until that show closed in 1966 and the elephant Herd sold to Gran Circo Union in Mexico.

Buckles Woodcock 2010,

William "Buckles" Woodcock

References for records about Mills Brothers Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Mills Brothers Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

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