Colvig, Pinto

Pinto Colvig, born Vance DeBar Colvig, August 11, 1892 in Jacksonville, OR, was one of seven children of William Mason Colvig (1845 - 1936), aka Judge Colvig, and Adelaide Birdseye Colvig (1856 - 1912). Although Pinto left school after the sixth grade and never attended high school, he was accepted at Oregon Agricultural College, where he took art classes and played clarinet in the band.

Colvig was an entertainer.  In 1913, he worked the Pantages Vaudeville Circuit and in 1914 was a staff writer and cartoonist in Reno, NV and later in Carson City, NV.  In 1913 hejoined the Al G. Barnes Circus for two seasons as a clown.

After marrying Margaret Bourke Slavin (1892 - 1950) in 1916, Pinto lived in San Francisco where four of their five sons were born. The fifth son was born in Los Angeles.

In San Francisco, Colvig worked with Byington Ford and Benjamin Thackston Knight at the Animated Film Corp. a company which produced animated cartoons long before Walt Disney.  In 1919, he formed Pinto's Prizma Comedy review. 

Pinto and his family moved to Hollywood in 1922, where he worked as a title writer and comedian on silent comedies and early sound cartoons.

In 1930, Pinto signed an eight-year contract with Walt Disney. In addition to being an early animator, Pinto provided voices for Disney characters Goofy, Pluto, Grumpy and Sleepy. Pinto also wrote the lyrics for “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.”

His next move was to Florida to work for Max Fleischer Studios on animated films, and Pinto was soon providing voices and sound effects for radio programs, including "Amos 'n Andy" and "The Jack Benny Show" where he supplied the sounds made by Benny's "Maxwell" Car. In 1946 Pinto went to work for Capitol Records and the "Bozo" legend began.

Inspired by the lack of good albums for his own five children, Pinto created a storybook and record combination. It was a huge success that seems to have combined all of Pinto's extraordinary talents and made him a household name for generations.

Pinto’s wife Margaret died in 1950. He married Mrs. Peggy Bernice Allaire, 43, in January 1952.

A lifelong smoker who died of lung cancer on October 3, 1967, at age 75, Colvig was one of the pioneers in advocating warning labels about cancer risk on cigarette packages in the United States. He was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Woodland Hills, CA.

Colvig was the father of the Hollywood character actor Vance Colvig who died on March 3, 1991.  

Other Name(s): 

Vance DeBar Colvig, Bozo the Clown




Jacksonville, San Francisco, Hollywood

Place of death: 

Woodland Hills CA


William M. Colvig


Margaret Bourke Slavin, m. 1916 Peggy Allaire, m. 1952


Vance DeBar Jr., 1918 William Mason, 1920 Bourke, 1923 Byington, 1922 Courtney, 1931


Oregon Agricultural College


1993 Honored as a Disney legend. Bozo the Clown.