The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is a day filled with three million happy people lining the parade route. A day of balloons, clowns and fun, but tragedy struck one clown along the parade route.
“It wasn’t a clown who died, it was my friend Robert who died of a heart attack,” Dr. Anna Dolan told PIX 11, “and we all loved him so.”
67-year-old Robert Blasetti wasn’t a career clown. It was something he and his wife Irene did just once a year, dressed up as clowns at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, handing out balloons To see the joy on children’s faces.
“The night before we talked about it, ” Dolan said.” “They really loved to see the children’s faces. They loved being clowns.”
But towards the end of the parade route, at 39th and 6th avenue, as Robert Blasetti and Irene were handing out balloon animals, suddenly the 67-year-old Yonkers resident collapsed and fell on his back. His wife, also dressed as a clown, tried to revive him by doing CPR until an ambulance arrived.
“She called me to say they wouldn’t let her go in the ambulance,” Dolan said. “It didn’t sound good.”
Blasetti was pronounced dead at Roosevelt hospital. For close to 30 years Blasetti had worked with Dr. Dolan, a psychiatrist and her husband, a psychologist at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers. Dr. Dolan described Blasetti as her office manager, right hand man, researcher and good friend who had married his childhood sweetheart and never had children of their own.
“They were so close, they were inseparable. That’s going to take a while,” Dolan said, but added, “he died doing what he loved to do. He’d never been happier.”