Frances O'Connor (performer)

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Frances O'Connor
FrancesOConnorFreak.jpg
Born (1914-09-08)September 8, 1914
Granite Falls, Minnesota
Died January 30, 1982(1982-01-30) (aged 67)
Long Beach, California
Occupation sideshow performer, film actress

Frances Belle O'Connor (September 8, 1914 – January 30, 1982) was an American entertainer. Born without arms, she made her living appearing in circus sideshows billed as the armless wonder or the living Venus de Milo.[1] She would perform normal actions such as eating, drinking, writing and smoking a cigarette, using her feet.[2] She also did knitting and sewing with her feet as a hobby. She worked firstly with AI G Circus and then from the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey travelling circuses.[3]

O'Connor appeared in the 1932 pre-code cult film classic Freaks, opposite Martha Morris (1902-1937),[4] (who was also born without arms, and shortened legs), directed and produced by Tod Browning. The film revolves around a group of individuals with physical deformities, predominantly played by real life freak show performers. In the film she would demonstrate how she used her feet to perform everyday activities, in an almost ballerina style grace.

Personal life[edit]

Her mother served as her showbiz manager. Frances O'Connor never married and never had children. After having retired from the travelling circuit, she died in relative obscurity in Long Beach, California, at the age of 67 in 1982.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cocchis, Roberto (December 24, 2017). ""Wonders without Arms": the most famous artists in the Circus of the late '800 and early' 900". Vanilla Magazine (in Italian). Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  2. ^ a b Mundie, James. "Frances O'Connor". Mission Creep. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  3. ^ "Frances O'Connor - The Living Venus De Milo". The Human Marvels. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  4. ^ Craig, Jim (November 16, 2015). "THE ARMLESS WONDER - Martha Morris". Under Every Tombstone. Retrieved 18 April 2018.