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Ferdinand Waldo Demara, Jr.
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    (December 21, 1921-June 7, 1982)
    Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts
    Impersonated a civil engineer, a sheriff's deputy, an assistant prison warden, a psychologist, a hospital orderly, a lawyer, a child care expert, a cancer researcher, a teacher, a Trappist monk, a Benedictine monk and a surgeon
    Portrayed by Tony Curtis in 'The Great Impostor' (1960)
    Appeared in the film 'The Hypnotic Eye' (1960)
    During WWII, he went AWOL from both the Army and Navy, eventually serving 18 months in prison.
    During the Korean War, he posed as Dr. Joseph Cyr and performed 16 operations, including chest surgery, despite having no medical training.
    After publicity made it difficult for him to impersonate people, he became a heavy drinker.
    Ironically for someone who fooled so many people in real life, he is an unconvincing actor in his one movie role.
    Unlike Frank Abagnale, he did not use his impersonations as a cover for passing bad checks.
    All 16 of the patients he operated on lived.
    He had a photographic memory that he used to memorize the background for his jobs.
    He settled into a job under his real name as a Baptist minister and counselor at Good Samaritan Hospital in Anaheim, California.
    He became friends with Steve McQueen and delivered last rites to the actor.

Credit: C. Fishel

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