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De Formed!

Francesco ‘Frank’ Lentini (May 18, 1889 – September 21, 1966) was the fifth, or rather the fifth and part of the sixth of 12 children (seven sisters and five brothers) of the Italian farmers Natale and Giovanna Falco! He was born with a parasitic twin on 9 Gintoli Street, Rosolini, Sicily! Lentini was born with three legs and two sets of genitals. The twin was attached to his body at the base of his spine and consisted of a pelvis bone, a rudimentary set of male genitalia, and a full-sized leg extending from the right side of his hip, with a small foot protruding from its knee…

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Lentini

Later, he became popular as ‘Three Legged Man‘. The third leg was attached to his spine in such a manner that it would have been difficult for the doctors to save Lentini in case of a surgery. Because of his physical deformity, his parents refused to accept him and gave him to the care of the wife of his uncle Corrido Falco! His auntie got Lentini admitted to a Home (for children with special needs). His unusual physical feature had a great impact on his mind, as he isolated himself from others. He was well aware of the fact that he was a different person.

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However, the Home Authorities tried their best to encourage Lentini to lead a normal life. Because of their inspiration, he learned ice-skating and also showed interests in other physical activities. At the age of 12, he arrived in the US with Vincenzo Mantano, a man who used to run a travelling puppet show. There, Lentini entered the sideshow business as The Great Lentini, joining the Ringling Brothers Circus. In this way, his physical deformity became an asset for him! Lentini gained US citizenship at the age of 30. The citizenship helped him build his career, spanning over four decades, as he worked with every major circus and sideshow, including Barnum and Bailey, and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. He was quite respected among his peers, who often addressed him as “The King“. He was also a humorous and witty person… and, these qualities helped him become famous!

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Theresa Murray, an American lady, fell in love with Lentini, and they got married in 1907. They had four children: Giuseppina (Josephine), Natale (Ned), Francesco (Frank) Junior, and Giacomo (James). When Frank and Theresa separated around 1935, he started a new life with Helen Shupe, with whom he lived till his death. The wonder-man died of lung failure in Jackson, Tenneesee, on September 21, 1966 at the age of 77.

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