I had a friend who was Ronald McDonald. No, really. THE Ronald McDonald. His name was Aye Jaye, a diminutive of Alexi Jankowski. He came from a circus family, had been a wandering clown, and was asked to audition for a clown character at McDonald's corporate headquarters in Chicago. A couple of other guys had preceded him in the part -- including Willard Scott, who claims to have originated the character.