Lori and George Schappell
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George (then known as Reba) in concert with Lori holding the microphone.
September 18, 1961
Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
|Parent(s)||Festus and Edna Schappell|
|Relatives||Denna Rawlins (sister)|
Lori and George Schappell (born as Lori and Dori Schappell, September 18, 1961, in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania) are conjoined twins. George has performed as a country singer. In 2007, George, who was at that time known as Reba Schappell, stated that although born female, he identifies as male and changed his name to George.
George has designed support equipment for people with physical handicaps, including a specialized wheelchair and a mobility aid for dogs.
As country singer Reba, George has performed widely in the United States and visited Germany and Japan and in 1997, won an L.A. Music Award for Best New Country Artist. He sang "Fear of Being Alone" over the credits of Stuck on You, a comedy film about a pair of fictitious conjoined twins.
Lori acts as George's facilitator. She works in a laundry, arranging her workload around his singing commitments. She says that, as a fan of his, she pays to attend concerts, just like all the other fans, simply making herself quiet and "invisible" while he is performing.
As conjoined twins, Lori and George have appeared in a number of television documentaries and talk shows. They have also acted in an episode of the television series Nip/Tuck, in which they played conjoined twins Rose and Raven Rosenberg.
On June 21, 2007, Lori and George took part in the grand opening of "Ripley's Believe It Or Not ! Odditorium" in Times Square in New York City. This is the first time they were billed as Lori and George Schappell.
Born as Lori and Dori Schappell, they are craniopagus conjoined twins joined at the head, but having very different personalities and living—insofar as possible—individual lives. As a mark of individuality, and disliking the fact that their names rhymed, Dori first chose to go by the name Reba, after his favorite singer Reba McEntire. By 2007 he preferred to be publicly known as George.
Lori and George spent the first 24 years of their lives living in an institution in Reading, Pennsylvania, in which the majority of patients were suffering from severe intellectual disabilities. Although neither is intellectually disabled, George's physical condition required special care. A court decision was made that their parents would be unable to care for them properly and they were removed and institutionalized. In the 1960s there were few hospital institutions for people who had special needs that were particularly unusual. In order that they might be placed in the institution, they were diagnosed as suffering from intellectual disability. When they reached adulthood, George, with the help of Ginny Thornburgh, wife of former Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh, fought to have this diagnosis overturned and they were able to go to college.
While Lori is able-bodied, George has spina bifida, which has caused growth restriction of his lower body and severe mobility impairment. They are therefore of very different heights with her being 5' 1" and him 4'4". There was no wheelchair that suited his unique condition, because to move around, he must be raised to her height, to avoid undue strain upon his neck and back. The only thing on wheels that was the right height was a bar stool. Using this as the foundation, he designed the wheelchair that he currently uses.
Lori and George live in a two-bedroom apartment, each maintaining their own private space. He has several pets. She is a trophy-winning bowler. They respect each other’s privacy in terms of work time, recreation and relationships. She has had several boyfriends and was engaged, but lost her fiance in a motor-vehicle accident.
In 2006, George was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Reading. Lori did not join, but has been supportive of his decision. In 2007, he decided to openly acknowledge that he was transgender, having self-identified as male from a young age.
Lori and George have appeared in the following programs or articles:
- 1993: The Maury Povich Show
- September 12, 1998: The Howard Stern Radio Show
- October 7, 1998: Howard Stern
- 1998: A&E documentary Face to Face: The Schappell Sisters
- 2000: The Learning Channel documentary Separate Lives
- May 15, 2002: The Jerry Springer Show; George was billed as Reba Schappell 
- August 17, 2004: American TV show Nip/Tuck, in the episode "Rose and Raven Rosenberg"; Raven was played by George (billed as Reba) Schappell; Rose was played by Lori Schappell
- May 31, 2002: Howard Stern
- 2005 TV Documentary: Medical Incredible. A documentary on Discovery Health Channel.
- 2005 TV documentary: Extraordinary People: Joined at the Head; George was billed as Dori Schappell)
- September 24, 2007: The Greek reality show Aksizei na to deis (Worth Seeing – Αξιζει να το δεις)
- 2007: The romantic comedy film X's & O's
- 2007: TV documentary Inside Extraordinary Humans: Science of Conjoined Twins
- Sally Brook, We have Normal Lives, The Sun, 2011-09-15
- Best Doctors, Separation Anxiety, see below
- BBC – Sisters' Hope. see below.
- USA Weekly News, Ripley's Believe it or Not Direct quote: "Tona Lewis, left, of Brick, N.J., shakes hands with conjoined twins Lori and George Schappell during the grand opening celebration of Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium Thursday, June 21, 2007 in New York's Times Square."
- BBC – Sisters' Hope. See below.
- Jerry Springer Episode