Photograph of Lentini as a child.
Francesco A. Lentini|
May 18, 1889
September 21, 1966 (aged 77)|
|Cause of death||Lung failure|
|Height||169 cm (5.54 ft)|
|Spouse(s)||Theresa Murray (m. 1907–1935)|
|Partner(s)||Helen Shupe (1935-1966)|
|Children||Josephine, Natale, Frank, James|
Lentini was born with a parasitic twin. The twin was attached to Lentini's body at the base of his spine and consisted of a pelvis bone, a rudimentary set of male genitalia and a full-sized leg extending from the right side of Lentini's hip, with a small foot protruding from its knee.
At the age of eight, Lentini's family moved to the United States. Lentini then entered the sideshow business as The Great Lentini, joining the Ringling Brothers Circus act. He gained US citizenship at the age of 30. His career spanned over forty years and he worked with every major circus and sideshow including Barnum and Bailey and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Lentini was so respected among his peers that he was often called "The King".
In his youth, Lentini used his extraordinary third leg to kick a football across the stage, hence his show name, the Three-Legged Football Player. By the time he was six, Lentini's normal legs were slightly different in length—one was 39 inches, the other 38 inches—but the third leg was only 36 inches, and the foot on it was clubbed. Even more as an adult, while his extra leg was several inches shorter than the others, his primary legs were also two different lengths. He was heard to complain that even with three legs, he still didn't have a pair. In 1907 he married Theresa Murray, three years younger than he, and they had four children: Giuseppina (Josephine), Natale (Ned), Francesco (Frank) Junior and Giacomo (James). When Frank and Theresa separated about 1935, he began a new life with Helen Shupe with whom he lived until his death. Lentini died of lung failure in Jacksonville, Florida, on September 21, 1966, at the age of 77.
Lentini's photo is featured on the back cover of rock band Alice in Chains' 1995 self-titled album. He is related to strongman/filmmaker Christopher Annino. Jonathan Redavid portrayed him in the 2017 film The Greatest Showman.
- Official website.
- Wallechinsky, David; Wallace, Irving (1975). "Biography of Three-Legged Wonder Franceso A. Lentini Part 1". The People's Almanac. Retrieved September 26, 2012 – via trivia-library.com.
- (in Italian) Barresi, Mario (August 29, 2010). "L'uomo di Rosolini che aveva tre gambe. E due paia di organi genitali". ragusanews. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
- Raul (October 31, 2010). "Jerry Cantrell's Dog Sunshine Was The 3 Legged Dog On Alice In Chains Album Cover". Feel Numb. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- Leibovitz, Annie (August 13, 2017). "Jonathan Redavid is The 3 Legged man Frank Lentini in "The Greatest Showman"". Jonathan Redavid. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frank Lentini.|
- James G. Mundie, "The Life History of Francesco A. Lentini, Three-legged Wonder" pitchbook pamphlet (with photos)
- J. Tithonus Pednaud, Francesco Lentini – The Three-Legged Man
- Frank Lentini at Find a Grave