Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Schlitzie the Pinhead

Schlitzie the Pinhead

"His Official Certificate Of Death calls him "Shlitze Surtees", but that's only because his "Legal Guardian" at the time was one George Surtees, a chimp handler and barker of carnival standing for many years, who also appeared with a trained chimp act for Ted Metz on the Tom Mix circus during Shlitze's time there. The Tom Mix Circus is where George Surtees and Shlitze met, and at the time Shlitze was most likely under the guardianship of Ted Metz who managed the sideshow, hence the "Shlitze Metz" moniker. It is doubtful "Metz" was Shlitze's surname any more than "Surtees", but for show traveling purposes in the day, it was more convenient to get a ward with the same surname as the show's owner or owners past customs, state authorities, etc.

So if neither Metz nor Surtees was Shlitze's surname, what was it? Strong possibilities exist that perhaps Shlitze's surname could have been either Sibley (Walter K. Sibley created the 10-in-1 format in Toronto, Canada in 1904) or Mills (the Mills family exhibited attractions). Exhaustive research indicates Mills is the surname over Sibley, but final proof has yet to be discovered."

(From Findadeath.) 

"...Schlitzie - he had no choice. As I grew older I had a choice. I could stay in show business if I wanted to. He had no choice, so - I don't know how to express it about him but he - he just wasn't able to do anything else. Quite often you would get a crowd that thought they were funny, that they were funny and they would torment him or something like that but usually there were some roustabouts around that would see that that was broken up in a hurry and they were not allowed to torment him."
                                                    - Jeanie Tomaini, the half-girl, in "Freaks Uncensored'

Microcephaly is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which the circumference of the head is more than two standard deviations smaller than average for the person's age and sex. Microcephaly may be congenital or it may develop in the first few years of life. The disorder may stem from a wide variety of conditions that cause abnormal growth of the brain, or from syndromes associated with chromosomal abnormalities. Two copies of a loss-of-function mutation in one of the microcephalin genes causes primary microcephaly.
In general, life expectancy for individuals with microcephaly is reduced and the prognosis for normal brain function is poor. The prognosis varies depending on the presence of associated abnormalities.
"Schlitzie spent his finals days living with performer friends near MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. He passed away at the age of 81 at Fountain View Convalescent Home in Los Angeles from bronchial pneumonia. Schlitzie was interred at Queen Of Heaven Cemetery, Rowland Heights, California, Plot: Grave 69 - Tier 21 - Section E. The grave went unmarked for several years until members of the internet message board community at Find a Death raised funds to have the grave appropriately marked."

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