August 27, 2023 | Sarah Ng

Frank Lentini, The Three-Legged Performer

Frank Lentini was born with a parasitic twin, which meant that he had three legs, two genitals, and four feet. His unique appearance sealed his extraordinary destiny.


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A Sad Childhood

Lentini’s parents were distraught by his birth. They held out hope that a doctor might be able to amputate their baby’s third leg—but it proved to be an impossible task. The procedure was too life-threatening. As such, Lentini became a disgrace to his family and an object of ridicule in his Italian hometown. People called him “the marvel” or “little monster.” Little did he know, by the time he was 10 years old, he’d be famous.

In 1898, nine-year-old Lentini traveled from Italy to America with his father. Here, Lentini was able to attract audiences rather than drive them away. He was a sensation wherever he went, and only a year later, he became one of the biggest acts in the Ringling Bros. circus.

Portrait Of Frank Lentini The Three-Legged BoyBettmann, Getty Images

Destined For Fame And Fortune

Lentini had many titles as a performer, from “The Three-Legged Sicilian” to “The Greatest Medical Wonder of All Time.” On tour, he became known for his self-deprecating sense of humor. Though his deformity became the punchline for all of his jokes, he was also extremely proud of his appearance. In the end, it helped him reach fame and fortune beyond his wildest dreams. But that wasn’t all.

Lentini’s numerous extremities never failed him in the romance department. Thanks to his intellect and overall charisma, he enjoyed two relationships during his lifetime, and had four children. Though he had a rough start, Lentini later confessed, “I’ve never complained. I think life is beautiful and I enjoy living it.” 

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