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October 12, 1871|
Demerara, British Guiana
December 19, 1934 (aged 63)|
New York City, New York
|Other names||Rardion, The Living Torso, The Caterpillar Man, The Human Cigar, The Human Caterpillar/Worm|
|Occupation||Sideshow performer and film actor|
|Known for||Freaks (1932)|
Mary Randian |
Prince Randian (sometimes misspelled Rardion or Randion; October 12, 1871 – December 19, 1934), also nicknamed as The Snake Man, The Human Torso, The Human Caterpillar and a variety of other names, was a Guyanese-born American performer with tetra-amelia syndrome and a famous limbless sideshow performer of the early 1900s, best known for his ability to roll cigarettes with his lips. He was reportedly brought to the United States by P.T. Barnum in 1889, age 18 and was a popular Coney Island carnival and circus attraction for 45 years. Prince Randian (credited "Rardion") was featured in the 1932 film Freaks, his only film appearance, in which he is seen lighting up a cigarette with a match.
Randian (whose birth name is unknown) was born with no arms and legs in Demerara, British Guyana. He was a Hindu and spoke Hindi, English, French, and German. According to a passenger manifest of SS Parima from April 14, 1917, he had lived previously at Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. With his wife, known as Princess Sarah (apparently a Hindu woman, born circa 1872), he fathered three daughters and a son. Their children were Mary Randian (born circa 1893), Richard Randian (born circa 1901), Elizabeth Randian (born circa 1904), and Wilhelmina Randian (born circa 1904). In the 1920s he was working for Krause Amusement Company and lived in Plainfield, New Jersey. He and his wife lived at 174 Water Street, Paterson, New Jersey, until his death.
For his act, Randian wore a one-piece wool garment that fit tightly over his body, giving him the appearance of a caterpillar, snake or potato, and would move himself around the stage by wiggling his hips and shoulders. His best-known ability was rolling and lighting cigarettes using only his lips, but he was also capable of painting and writing by holding a brush or stylus with his lips and of shaving himself by securing a razor in a wooden block. He kept all of the props and materials used in his act in a wooden box that he reportedly constructed, painted and affixed a lock to by himself.
Randian died at 7:00 PM on December 19, 1934, aged 63, of a heart attack shortly after his last performance at Sam Wagner's 14th Street Museum in New York.
- Violetta, another limbless sideshow performer