Bob Bell, 75, who played Bozo the Clown on television for 25 years. Bell portrayed the popular clown from 1959 until he retired in 1984. He also made the character nationally prominent when WGN-TV began broadcasting via satellite in 1978 to a coast-to-coast audience. Bell, the first clown to play Bozo on WGN, was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame on Aug. 3, 1996. On Monday in Chicago.