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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 8 September 1914Granite City, Minnesota, USA
Date of Death 30 January 1982Long Beach, California, USA
Birth NameFrances Belle O'Connor
Height 5' (1.52 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Frances Belle O'Connor was born on September 8, 1914 in Granite Falls, Reville County, Minnesota. She was born without arms, but learned to use her feet in incredibly dexterous ways. Combining her physical beauty and an outgoing personality, it made her a natural for the sideshow circuit. Billed as "The Living Venus de Milo," and with her mother as manager, she worked with various circuses such as Al G. Barnes, Cole Brothers and Sells-Floto before she settled at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, where she worked for over 20 years until the mid-1940s.

Frances was remarkably agile with her feet, and during her act she would smoke a cigarette, drink coffee, use a knife and fork to cut her food, dab the corners of her mouth with a napkin, all with a ballerina-like grace. The most startling part of her act was when she would demonstrate her talent with firearms, and she would close her show by signing autographs. Because her legs functioned as her arms, Frances was obviously able to show her legs a great deal, and the innocent sexual undertones of her act actually benefited her in the particularly prudish era of the 1930's. Her beauty attracted scores of men and eligible suitors, and she reputedly turned down hundreds of marriage proposals during her career.

O'Connor appeared with numerous other human oddities in Freaks (1932), and performed various daily tasks which were complete normal to her. During the sequence at the wedding feast, she wears a pretty costume that had no sleeves at all, leaving her shoulders entirely bare and revealing the smooth skin where her arms would be. Unfortunately, this was Frances' only screen appearance.

Shortly after her mother passed away, Frances lost interest in the rigours of traveling and performing, and decided to completely retire from show business, disappeared into obscurity almost overnight. She spent the remainder of her days with her favorite hobby, knitting and sewing, and despite having many suitors in her lifetime, she never married and had no children. She passed away on January 30, 1982 in Long Beach, California at the age of 67.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: mgnylander@yahoo.com

Trivia (3)

Tod Browning's Freaks (1932) is her only film credit.
Born without arms and learned to do everything with her feet.
She supported and cared for her mother until the latter's death, at which point Frances considered herself "too old" for marriage and, thus, remained single all her life.

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