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Talking With World-Famous Mime Robert Shields

When you say the word “mime,” most people don’t have a positive reaction.

They usually do a variation related to the motion of trying to escape from a box while putting out excessively emotive facial expressions. But a few mimes have had international success over the course of their careers.

One of those is Robert Shields, who became famous as a young man in the 1970s — first as a street performer in San Francisco and then all the way to regular appearances on "The Tonight Show" and other programs with his partner Lorene Yarnell.

Thirty years ago, Shields settled in Arizona. And now he creates his own visual art. We caught up with Shields to talk about his career and his art.

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.