A Ventnor native plays an integral role in the upcoming PBS documentary "Circus," a six-hour series beginning Nov. 3 that shows life in, out and under the big top.

Barry Lubin never imagined himself being a clown. But at 58 years old — 35 years after debuting his character "Grandma" — he couldn't picture himself as anything else.

He was, however, always drawn to entertainment. He remembers watching Charlie Chaplin films his father showed to Atlantic City hotel guests when Lubin was a child. His time at Atlantic City High School got his creative juices flowing as he experimented with new television equipment, eventually leading Lubin to attend Emerson College in Boston, where he planned to be a TV director.

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Scrapping that, he entered Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown college, worked with the circus troupe for five years and joined Big Apple Circus 20 years ago.

In "Circus," Lubin's humorous ways are depicted, but it's his behind-the-scenes battle with thyroid cancer that will leave viewers riveted.

"Watching it was a real smack in my face because I like to run and hide from my emotions," said Lubin, who said he is now more active than ever after successful surgery. "It ripped my guts out. They handled it all so well, but it dredged up a lot of difficult feelings. The whole experience renewed my zest not for just the Big Apple Circus and clowning, but for living, … because you never know."

Lubin will be performing with the Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center in New York through Jan. 9, followed by a tour.

Short stories

•Deerfield Township's Harvest Festival, Township Committee and Recreation Committee recognized Sal Tedesco as the municipality's Farmer of the Year. Tedesco owns Sunnyside Farms. The third-generation farmer and entrepreneur has contributed to the food industry for more than 30 years as the owner of Cherry Hot Shots, MissaBay and Sunnyside, a 400-acre grain farm. Tedesco's farms contributed to the regional and national food markets, including MissaBay, which marketed and distributed products to Wawa Food Markets. He lives in the Rosenhayn section of Deerfield with his family.

•The short film "The World According to Pop-Pop Dirty Foots," produced by former Pleasantville resident Harris Haith, received the Best Comedy Series award at the Hamptons Black International Film Festival recently. Haith, an entertainer-turned-producer/writer, currently lives in Woodbridge Township, Middlesex County. His most recent undertaking is "Growing Up Laughing with Eddie Murphy," a movie inspired by memories of Murphy, Haith's childhood friend.

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Scott Cronick is on assignment. His column will return Sunday, Nov. 7.

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