Peter Robinson (sideshow artist)

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Peter Robinson (April 8, 1874 – 1947) was an American actor of film and theater and sideshow art performer with a lengthy career in the carnival circus circuit with Ringling Bros. He also appeared briefly on Broadway. Peter Robinson was born in Chicopee, Massachusetts April 8, 1874, the son of Abraham Robinson and Victoria Hebert. In later records he used April 6 as his birthday and gave Springfield, Massachusetts as his place of birth, but the birth registry gives the former date and location. His parents were born in the United States, but were of Canadian ancestry. He said that he had a normal childhood and appearance until his early teens, when his weight began to drop precipitously.

He worked as a carnival sideshow entertainer, weighing in at 58 pounds, he billed himself as "The Living Skeleton", in the vein of Isaac W. Sprague. In January 1922 he went on tour through South America and returned to the United States in November that same year. In 1924, aged 45, he married in New York fellow sideshow entertainer Baby Bunny Smith, a 467-pound (212 kg) circus fat lady aged 23, and had two children. He would marry her numerous time for promotional purposes, after having been involved with no fewer than eight other "circus fat ladies"[1]

Despite making his living in side shows, he was a classically trained Shakespearean actor. He is best known for his role in the horror film Freaks (1932), directed by Tod Browning. He was also purported to be an expert harmonica player. By 1940 he was living with his sister Josephine Robinson and her husband Charles Slight at Agawam, Massachusetts..


  1. ^ "Peter Robinson - IMDb". Retrieved 2012-08-13.