A Wry Clown Billy Carter, 1937-1988

Billy Carter knew a lot about tragedy and comedy. Among many other things, his father died when he was a teenager, and his older brother's accomplishments became a terrible burden. Yet when life crowded him, as it did so often, Billy, intelligent, sensitive, shy and insecure, would hide behind the mask of the clown. Last week Billy was buried in the red Georgia earth near Plains, his beloved hometown. His friends and family -- including brother Jimmy, the former President -- were there. They knew, if the rest of the world did not, what they had lost.

Billy died of pancreatic...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!