|Born:||December 8, 1955|
|Birthplace:||Lynch, Kentucky, U.S.|
Joe Maggard (born December 8, 1955) is an American actor who for many years and unknown reasons claimed to portray the Ronald McDonald character from 1995–2007. The actual actors who portrayed the clown in those years were Jack Doepke and David Hussey.
Life and careerBorn in the small Appalachian coal-town of Lynch, KY, at the age of five, young Joe moved with his family to southeastern North Carolina. At the age of 16, Joe dove into a local lake and broke his neck. Maggard spent almost a year in traction in the hospital with 2 metal spikes drilled into his skull and laying on a foster-frame. He was paralyzed for a period of time, but regained the use of his legs and eventually served from 1974-76 in the US Army overseas during the last days of the Vietnam War.
After then getting employed as a deputy sheriff with the Brunswick County, NC Sheriff's Department, Joe, while still working in law enforcement, took to the Stage as an actor at historic Thalian Hall in Wilmington, NC. He has appeared in more than 20 legitimate Theater Productions such as Mister Roberts, Oklahoma and his critically-acclaimed one-man show Rattlesnake in a Cooler.
Joe has also had small parts in numerous films, which include Wild Card (1992) with co-stars Rosanna Arqutte and Jason Robards, where he had his first speaking role, and Love Field (1992) with co-stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Dennis Haysbert.
Ronald McDonald scam
Beginning in 1995, Maggard began to lie through the media that he portrayed Ronald McDonald taking over the role from Jack Doepke. This would turn out to be false, including to those close to making the McDonaldland commercials, as Doepke continued to portray the clown a further four years. Maggard was only a lighting stand-in for two commercials.
In 2000, David Hussey would succeed Jack Doepke as the new Ronald. However, it did not stop there. Thanks to the internet, almost everyone took Joe's story seriously and in 2007, he stated that he "retired" from portraying Ronald McDonald after 12 years.
According to a newspaper article The Guardian, Maggard was known to have posed as Ronald and phone people, scaring and threatening them. In 1998, he was charged for carrying a concealed weapon, and the following year, was sentenced to take anger management classes for his harassing actions pretending to be the clown.
He appears in the documentary Ronald, where he describes his life since "retiring" from portraying Ronald McDonald but with the clown never leaving his side, spreading his claim of portraying the clown further more. Maggard had managed to get away with his lie for many years until after the release of his so called documentary.
- Joe Maggard at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)