Ringling Circus Heirs Go to Court After Shivah Brawl

The 27-year-old Feld Family Feud continues.

Published: May 3rd 2011
in Culture » Society

Kenneth Feld.
Karen Feld.

“The Greatest Show on Earth” will soon be merely a three-ring circus, as the feuding heirs to the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus are poised to go to court after an alleged fight that occurred while sitting shivah for an aunt. 


Karen Feld, 63, has filed a $110-million lawsuit against her younger brother, Kenneth Feld, 62 for assault after the shivah incident. In court documents, Ms. Feld claims her brother wanted to control her life and inflict bodily harm because he was fearful that she would divulge family secrets about their father, consequently tarnishing the wholesome image of the family business. It has long been known that their father, Irvin, had clandestine gay lovers, and that their mother committed suicide in 1958.


Ms. Feld claims that her brother had her thrown out of the shivah and beaten by a trio of guards so severely that she suffered from a concussion, fractured ribs and elbow, vision damage and a torn earlobe. Mr. Feld denies the allegations, and countered with a charge of trespassing against his older sister accusing her of ‘acting in an absolutely outrageous manner.’


The late Irvin Feld bought the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1967. The multimillionaire created Feld Entertainment, building an empire catering to kid-friendly entertainment. He sold the circus to toy behemoth Mattel in 1971, then bought it back again in 1981. In 1984, when Irvin died unexpectedly in his sleep, Kenneth was bequeathed the company and Karen was given next to nothing. The acrimonious siblings have been locked in legal feuds of varying degrees for the past 27 years.


The case is scheduled for trial on May 9th in Washington D.C.

Related articles: (Ringling Brothers Circus, Ringling heirs, Greatest Show on Earth, Barnum Bailey)
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