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 Johnny Eck, Jr

Johnny Eck, Jr

Original Name Eckhardt
Birth
Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA
Death 5 Jan 1991 (aged 79)
Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA
Burial Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA
Plot Section R, grave 19
Memorial ID 3060 · View Source
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Artist, Circus performer. John Eckhardt, Jr. and his twin brother Robert Eckhardt were born to Amelia and John Eckhardt, Sr. in Baltimore, Maryland. John was born with a truncated torso due to sacral agenesis. Though John would sometimes describe himself as "snapped off at the waist", he had unusable, underdeveloped legs and feet that he would hide under custom-made clothing. Johnny taught himself to walk on his hands at the age when most children learn to walk on their feet. Both twins were bright boys who excelled in school. At an early age John seemed headed for the ministry. In 1923, while the boys were attending a church fair, magician John McAslan was astonished by the half-boy and convinced his parents to let him join the carnival. Robert was hired as his manager and assistant. McAslan allegedly duped John's parents by adding a zero to a one-year contract after it was signed. John was a solo sideshow act, where he did magic tricks and acrobatics, including his famous one-armed handstand. Along with Robert, the twins were also used by a magician as subjects in a "saw in half" illusion. John is perhaps best known for his role in the 1932 cult classic film Freaks. He also had uncredited parts in three Tarzan movies. After his Hollywood and carnival career, the twins retired to Baltimore and operated a miniature train ride, with John serving as engineer. He also had a custom miniature car that was street-legal. John was also an avid screen painter – a theme reflected in the headstone marking his grave. In 1987, the brothers were robbed and physically assaulted in their home. Embittered and having lost his faith in humanity, John spent his remaining years in total seclusion, contending that the real freaks were outside his house. John suffered a heart attack in his sleep in 1991 at the age of 79. His twin Robert followed him in 1995, at the age of 83.

Bio by: Shock


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 12 Jun 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3060
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Johnny Eck, Jr (27 Aug 1911–5 Jan 1991), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3060, citing Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .