Marian and Vivian Brown

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Marian Brown
Marian and Vivian Brown.jpg
The Brown twins, Marian and Vivian
Born (1927-01-25)January 25, 1927
Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
Died November 20, 2014(2014-11-20) (aged 87)
San Mateo, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, television personality, commercial spokesperson, former bank worker
Years active 1960s–2014
Vivian Brown
Born (1927-01-25)January 25, 1927
Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
Died January 9, 2013(2013-01-09) (aged 85)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, television personality, commercial spokesperson, former legal secretary
Years active 1960s–2013

Marian B. Brown (January 25, 1927 – November 20, 2014) and Vivian A. Brown (January 25, 1927 – January 9, 2013) were American identical twin actresses who also appeared on television talk shows and television commercials. They became celebrity icons in San Francisco, known as the San Francisco Twins, renowned for their appearance in media with signature identically bright snappy outfits and hats atop meticulously coiffed hair.[1] They were voted second as San Francisco's "Best Local Character" in 2000.[2] They would often eat dinner at one of the front tables at Uncle Vito's restaurant, just below the crest of Nob Hill, San Francisco.[3]


Marian B. Brown and twin sister Vivian A. Brown were born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, just eight minutes apart. Vivian was the elder. They grew up in Mattawan, Michigan, where they attended Mattawan High School and in 1945 graduated as co-valedictorians, giving the valedictory speech together.[4] They went on to earn matching degrees in business education from Western Michigan University at Kalamazoo.[4]

At the age of 43, the Browns left Michigan for San Francisco in 1970 with the intent of escaping hot summers and the long cold winter months. After they arrived in San Francisco, Vivian became a legal secretary and Marian worked at a bank. Whilst in Kalamazoo, they were often seen in the Kalamazoo mall already and always dressed identically.[5] Both Marian and Vivian were petite at 5 feet 1 inch (1.55 m) tall and weighing 98 pounds (44 kg) each. They were always seen together. They dressed alike, walked in lockstep and ate at the same speed, even lifting their forks in unison. They never broke suit until Vivian became diagnosed with forgetfulness due Alzheimer's disease. After a slip and fall in the summer of 2012, Vivian ended up in the California Pacific Medical Center and her condition deteriorated. In 2012, the sisters faced financial problems, after Vivian required costly medical care after her fall. San Franciscans and charities united to help keep the sisters together. Vivian died aged from 85 at the Rhoda Goldman Plaza Assisted Living Centre in the Western Addition of San Francisco. Marian died on November 20, 2014, aged 87[6]


For more than 40 years, the Brown twins were an entertainment fixture of the San Francisco social scene. They appeared in public in identical outfits, becoming neighborhood celebrities. They gained wide exposure in a 1988 television advertisement for Reebok, which led to appearances in talk shows and modeling in advertisements. They appeared on television with Richard Simmons, Tom Snyder and Vicki Lawrence.[7] They were featured in over 25 television advertisements over the years. Corporate advertisements in which they appeared included IBM, San Francisco Chronicle, Pay Less, Virgin Atlantic, Joe Boxer, Macy's, AT&T, Dell Computers, and Apple Inc.[8] The Brown Twins appear in an establishing shot in the film 9 to 5, ostensibly set in Los Angeles.


  1. ^ Feist, Paul (October 13, 2006). "Leno? Who needs Jay Leno when you've got the Brown twins?". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  2. ^ Readers Choice (May 7, 2000). "And the Winners Are..." San Francisco Chronicle. p. K17. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  3. ^ Kepka, Mike (October 16, 2011). "Marian and Vivian Brown, the twins of Nob Hill". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Parker, Rosemary (August 31, 2012). "San Francisco opens its heart to Kalamazoo's 'good luck' twins, Vivian and Marian Brown". Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  5. ^ Romney, Lee (January 11, 2013). "S.F. mourns a twin with a passion for fashion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Kane, Will (January 11, 2013). "One of S.F.s' twin Brown sisters dies". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Brown Twins of San Francisco: A tribute to the great Vivian Brown". Daily Kos. January 12, 2013.
  8. ^ Whiting, Sam (January 11, 2013). "Vivian A. Brown, distinguished twin, dies". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 11, 2013.