Chris Costner Sizemore

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Chris Costner Sizemore walking the red carpet at the 51st Anniversary Encore Presentation of the World Premiere of The Three Faces of Eve, 18 September 2008 at Augusta, Georgia. Credit: Frank Lazenby

Chris Costner Sizemore (born April 4, 1927 in Edgefield, South Carolina)[1] is a woman who, in the 1950s, was diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder, now known as dissociative identity disorder. Her case, with a pseudonym used, was depicted in the 1950s book and film The Three Faces of Eve by her psychiatrists, Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley. She went public with her true identity in the 1970s.

In accordance with then-current modes of thought on the disorder, Thigpen reported that Sizemore had developed multiple personalities as a result of her witnessing two deaths and a horrifying accident within three months as a small child. By Sizemore's own report, these incidents triggered the evidencing of selves which were already present. "Despite authorities' claims to the contrary, my former alters were not fragments of my birth personality. They were entities, whole in their own rights, who coexisted with my birth personality before I was born. They were not me, but they remain intrinsically related to what it means to be me."[2]

While The Three Faces of Eve was written by Thigpen and Cleckley with limited input from Sizemore, her later books I'm Eve and A Mind of My Own fill in details. Much earlier, in 1958, she had written Strangers in My Body: The Final Face of Eve, using the pseudonym Evelyn Lancaster. According to psychiatrists who worked with her after she moved from South Carolina, Sizemore did not experience three selves, but approximately 20. The doctors reported that her selves presented in groups of three at a time.[3]

Sizemore reports feeling exploited and objectified by the media blitz surrounding the book and film. Upon discovering in 1988 that her legal rights to her own life story had been signed away to 20th Century Fox by Thigpen, Sizemore went to Manhattan's Federal District Court to contest the contract, and won.[4][5][6][7][8]

The 1952–1989 papers of Chris Costner Sizemore have been acquired by Duke University Library. An overview of the collection and a summary of Sizemore's story are included on its website. Sizemore was interviewed on the BBC News channel series Hard Talk on March 25, 2009.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Chris Costner Sizemore Papers". Rubenstein Library, Duke University. 
  2. ^ Costner, Chris, A Mind of My Own: The Woman Who Was Known As "Eve" Tells the Story of Her Triumph over Multiple Personality Disorder. William Morrow & Co, 1989.
  3. ^ Costner, Chris, with Elen Pittillo, I'm Eve. The Compelling Story of the International Case Of Multiple Personality. Doubleday & Co., Inc. 1977.
  4. ^ Costner-Sizemore covers this in detail in A Mind of My Own.
  5. ^ "The Real 'Eve' Sues to Film the Rest of Her Story." New York Times, February 7, 1989.
  6. ^ "Three Faces of Eve Told Her Story, Now Chris Sizemore Is Battling a Major Studio Over Movie Rights and Wrongs". People, March 27, 1989.
  7. ^ Entertainment Tonight, interview with Sizemore and Bobbi Edricks, Spring 1989. RealAudio stream here[dead link]
  8. ^ Wendy Doniger, Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India (Jordan Lectures in Comparative Religion). University Of Chicago Press 1999, p. 84.