07/03/2008 at 06:00 PM EDT
Larry Harmon, who played the beloved character Bozo the Clown, has died at 83, the Associated Press reports.
The actor died Thursday of congestive heart failure at his home, said his publicist, Jerry Digney.
"Bozo is a combination of the wonderful wisdom of the adult and the childlike ways in all of us," Harmon said in a 1996 interview of the character he was so famous for.
Harmon was not original Bozo, but portrayed the clown in many appearances – including at the Rose Parade in Pasadena in 1996 – and licensed the character to others.
The actor's wife of 29 years called her husband, "The love of my life."
"He was the most optimistic man I ever met," Susan Harmon said Thursday. "He always saw a bright side; he always had something good to say about everybody."
Harmon is also survived by his son, Jeff Harmon, and daughters Lori Harmon, Marci Breth-Carabet and Leslie Breth.