Photograph of Lentini as a child.
Francesco A. Lentini
May 18, 1889
|Died||September 21, 1966 (aged 77)|
|Height||169 cm (5.54 ft)|
Theresa Murray (m. 1907–1935)
|Partner(s)||Helen Shupe (1935–1966)|
|Children||Josephine, Ned, Francis Jr and James|
Born in 9 Gintoli Street, Rosolini, Sicily, on May 18, 1889 by midwife Maria Alberino into a family the fifth of twelve children (seven sisters and five brothers), to farmers Natale and Giavanna Falco he was disgraced initially by parents who gave him into the care of the wife of uncle Corrido Falco, at four months old he was sent to be examined by a specialist in Naples and, as he grew older, by aged 5 he was playing with other kids and was able to straighten his third leg but not walkhe became known for having three legs, four feet, and two sets of genitals.
Lentini was born with a parasitic twin. 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.
He was exhibited in numerous cities including (from 1897) London. When he was eight, Mantano, a man who ran a traveling puppet show, brought him to Middleton and Lentini's family moved to the United States. Lentini then entered the sideshow business as The Great Lentini, joining the Ringling Brothers Circus. He gained US citizenship at the age of 30. His career spanned over forty years and he worked with every major circus and sideshow including Barnum and Bailey and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Lentini was so respected among his peers that he was often called "The King".
In his youth, Lentini used his extraordinary third leg to kick a football across the stage -- hence his show name the Three-Legged Football Player. By the time he was six, Lentini's normal legs were slightly different in length: one was 39 inches and the other 38 inches. The third leg was only 36 inches and the foot on it was clubbed. As an adult, his primary legs were also two different lengths while his extra leg was several inches shorter. He was heard to complain that, even with three legs, he still did not have a pair. In 1907 he married Theresa Murray, three years younger than he, and they had four children: Giuseppina (Josephine), Natale (Ned), Francesco (Frank) Junior and Giacomo (James). When Frank and Theresa separated about 1935, he began a new life with Helen Shupe with whom he lived until his death. Lentini died of lung failure in Jackson, Tenneesee, on September 21, 1966, at the age of 77.
Lentini's photo is featured on the back cover of rock band Alice in Chains' self-titled 1995 album. He is related to strongman/filmmaker Christopher Annino. Jonathan Redavid portrayed him in the 2017 film The Greatest Showman.
- Official website.
- Wallechinsky, David; Wallace, Irving (1975). "Biography of Three-Legged Wonder Franceso A. Lentini Part 1". The People's Almanac. Retrieved September 26, 2012 – via trivia-library.com.
- (in Italian) Barresi, Mario (August 29, 2010). "L'uomo di Rosolini che aveva tre gambe. E due paia di organi genitali". ragusanews. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
- Raul (October 31, 2010). "Jerry Cantrell's Dog Sunshine Was The 3 Legged Dog On Alice In Chains Album Cover". Feel Numb. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- Leibovitz, Annie (August 13, 2017). "Jonathan Redavid is The 3 Legged man Frank Lentini in "The Greatest Showman"". Jonathan Redavid. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frank Lentini.|
- James G. Mundie, "The Life History of Francesco A. Lentini, Three-legged Wonder" pitchbook pamphlet (with photos)
- J. Tithonus Pednaud, Francesco Lentini – The Three-Legged Man
- Frank Lentini at Find a Grave