Gibb (Gibson), Rosemary Elizabeth Jane (‘Rosy’) (1942–97), social worker, clown, and magician, was born 8 November 1942 in Dublin, the only child of Jack Gibson, a well-known surgeon and hypnotist, and Elizabeth Maude Gibson (née James). She passed her early childhood in Guernsey, where her father served as surgeon to the Channel Islands, and her teenage years in Rhodesia and Ethiopia; she overcame all traces of the tuberculosis that she had suffered as a four-year-old and became a talented athlete. She represented Ireland at swimming, setting a record for the backstroke, the Channel Islands at tennis, netball, and horse-riding, and Britain at show-jumping. After her return to Ireland, in 1961 she entered TCD, where she acquired a reputation for her academic abilities and extrovert behaviour. She graduated BA in 1965 and went on to take the M.Litt. in Anglo-Irish literature.
It was at Trinity that Gibson met her future husband, Andrew Craddock Gibb, of Fordingbridge, Hampshire, whom she married in 1967. They had one son and one daughter. They lived briefly in Brackenstown, Swords, Co. Dublin, where she initiated a literacy programme for local travelling children, before moving to London in 1968. On settling there, she took a diploma in social administration at the London School of Economics. As a social worker in London she again took up the cause of the travelling community. She lobbied the inner London education authority to improve their halting sites and educational programmes, and went on to become its first officially designated travellers' teacher.
It was not until 1978 that Rosy Gibb decided on a change of career, choosing to train as a clown. Having acquired the skills of a mime artist, juggler, escapologist, conjurer, and fire-eater, she made a name for herself busking in London and Brighton, where she lived for some years, and later performed in children's theatres, community centres, libraries, and schools. Closely associated with the establishment of the Old Vic's children's theatre, she regularly engaged in charity work, entertaining and training the mentally handicapped. She also undertook a series of tours for the British Council in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. On moving back to London she worked increasingly as a magician, developing an offbeat style more geared to adult than to child audiences. She became one of the first women to be admitted to the Magic Circle, and in 1996 she was awarded the Craig Trophy by the International Brotherhood of Magicians. She died 13 July 1997 in London of cancer.