While he was in Germany live (near Nuremberg ), he only speaks Russian. He is married to a German, Gabrielle, with whom he performs in the circus. 'Gabi' Popov is 32 years younger than her husband. This second marriage for Popov in the Dutch Breda consummated by then-Mayor Ed Nijpels . Popov is the son of a clockmaker. In 1949 he came to the Russian circus school in Moscow and began his career in the state circus. Six years later he was the first clown in the Soviet Union, which occurred in the western world.
Popov's clown, mime , tightrope walker and juggler . His performance as a clown in the Russian tradition "Iwanuschka", a kind of tragicomic combination, where the clown seems to be stupid, but it is not again. Also, as an actor, he is featured in the film Oblomov, in the role as Zachar (Mikhalkov, 1979).
In 1982 he won the "Golden Clown of Monte Carlo" (the " Oscar "of clowns).
In 2006 he said he would quit his career in 2007, but he resigned in 2008 when on Christmas Circus at Malieveld in The Hague and in 2009 at the 14th International Circus Festival in Enschede .The intention was that he again returned in 2010, on the occasion of his 80th birthday and 60th anniversary as an artist, in the Grand Christmas Circus The Hague. This circus was produced by the Great Russian State Circus, where the clown is already closely linked to almost 20 years. In 2001, producer William Smitt said in the Volkskrant Popov: "What Chaplin was for the film, Popov for the circus. The very, very greatest. "
The Christmas circus Smitt family stood (with Popov) from December 17 2010 to January 3, 2011 in The Hague. In this Christmas circus Popov worked with magician / TV presenter Hans Kazàn. Although they could not understand each other, originated in the circus a great friendship between the two artists, Kazàn wrote in his autobiography published in 2009.