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The Inspiring Story of Francesco Lentini, The Man With Three Legs

People | August 23, 2017

Francesco Lentini was born in 1889 in Sirocusa Italy. He was one of twelve children; technically, 12 and a half children as Frank was born with a parasitic twin attached to his body. The partially-absorbed twin has a leg and genitals attached to Frank’s spine.

While he was billed as ‘The Man With Three Legs’, Frank actually had four feet as a small secondary foot protruded from the knee of his third leg. Thus, in total, he had three legs, four feet, sixteen toes and two sets of functioning male genitals. To complicate his life further, all of Frank’s legs were of different lengths.

Frank grew up with his extra limbs as doctors determined that removal of the extra leg would result in paralysis due to its proximity to his spine.

At first, his parents refused to acknowledge him so Frank was raised by his aunt who, meaning well, enrolled him in a home for disabled children. While there, the young Lentini, saw children worse off than he. While he learned to walk, run, jump and even ice skate, he saw children who could not walk, talk, or see at all. This helped him gain a new appreciation for life. His time at the home for disabled children was an experience Frank considered for many years to be his major motivation.

When he was 12, a puppeteer by the name of Vincenzo Magnano discovered him and brought him to America. Frank joined the circus and became an instant sensation. He charmed the audience with his agility and his keen wit and sense of humor.

During performances, Frank would kick soccer ball with his extra limb. As he grew older, Frank’s performances began to focus more on his charming character rather than his extra appendage.

He would be seen conducting interviews while propped up on his extra leg, using it as a stool. He was often questioned about his shoes. Does he buy special shoes in a set of three? Showing his wit, he would answer that he buys two regular pairs and just give the extra shoe to his one-legged friend.

His wit and humor charmed a young lady named Theresa Murray. The two soon wed and together they had four healthy children.

Frank Lentini continued touring until he died in 1966 at the age of 78. His prolific career spanned over 40 years. He worked with every major circus and sideshow and he was respected among his peers that he was often simply called as ‘The King.’

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