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Johnny Eck
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Circus Performer
    (August 27, 1911-January 5, 1991)
    Birth name was John Echkardt
    Born without legs
    Appeared in ‘Freaks (1932),’ ‘Tarzan the Ape Man (1932),’ ‘Tarzan Escapes (1936)’ and ‘Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941)’
    Billed as ‘the Half-Boy’
    When he was born, a woman reportedly fainted in horror.
    He was a smart-ass, and often gave facetious answers to questions.
    He exaggerated a lot.
    He started to write an autobiography, but never finished.
    He appeared in the notorious horror film ‘Freaks,’ which many feel was exploitative, and which was banned in several countries.
    In movies, he was typecast as monsters and animals.
    There was a rumor that Leonardo DiCaprio was going to portray him in a movie.
    He weighed only two pounds when he was born.
    His twin brother was born with legs.
    His parents didn’t treat him different from anyone else.
    He was incredibly agile walking on his hands.
    He once climbed all the steps of the Washington Monument using only his hands.
    He had a terrific sense of humor.
    When asked if he wished he had legs, he said: ‘Why would I want those? Then I’d have pants to press.’
    He was never ashamed of himself or his deformity.
    He said: ‘I met hundreds and thousands of people, and none finer than the midgets and the Siamese twins and the caterpillar man and the bearded woman and the human seal with the little flippers for hands. I never asked them any embarrassing questions and they never asked me, and God, it was a great adventure.’
    He had a happy life.

Credit: Wieland Kalligaro

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