Ded Bob died: Clark Orwick passes away after 30 years performing

Bruno Cooke March 12, 2021
Ded Bob died: Clark Orwick passes away after 30 years performing

Ded Bob died: Ded Bob’s human carrier, Clark Orwick, passed away on 10 March after a six-week battle in the ICU from “a massive heart attack”. Orwick, aka Smuj, and Ded Bob performed at Renaissance Festivals all over the US for more than 30 years.

Clark Orwick, aka Ded Bob, has died

Ded Bob was the highlight for many at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. The pair also performed at the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Smuj and Ded Bob /

Clark Orwick, the man behind the mask and Ded Bob’s “beloved dummy”, passed away the evening before last. 

The news came in the form of an announcement via the character’s Facebook page, in what WCRZ described as “true Ded Bob fashion”.

Michigan Renaissance Festival remembers Clark Orwick and Ded Bob

The Michigan Renaissance Festival Facebook page posted a commemorative message to its followers just under a day ago.

It includes a quote from Danish-American comedian Victor Borge: “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”. 

The post then reads, “Clark brought us all closer through laughter, critical thinking, and a persistent poke at our mortality. He cannot be replaced.”

Ded Bob origin and comedic influences

On Ded Bob’s website, Orwick lists among his comedic influences George Carlin and Richard Pryor.

He also includes Bill Cosby, Carol Burnette, Smothers Brothers, and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, an American sketch comedy program that ran between 1968 and 1973.

Orwick was also a big fan of SNL, and enjoyed the music of Bach, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin – “..too many to mention…”

When did Ded Bob first appear?

Ded Bob first appeared as a prop in Shakespeare’s Shorts, a series of parodies run by Atlanta Shakespeare Company. 

Soon afterwards, Orwick, Smuj and Ded Bob had their first big hits at Maryland Renaissance Festival and Georgia Renaissance Festival. From there, they took the show to Texas, Colorado, Michigan and Arizona. 

Finally, they landed in Michigan, where Ded Bob was a hit for over 30 years.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.