Johnny Eck: King of the Freaks

Johnny “The Half Boy” Eck, legendary sideshow performer, was born without the lower half of his torso, and starred in Tod Browning’s classic flick, Freaks (1932). Eck once famously remarked, “If I want to see freaks, I can just look out the window.” Born in Baltimore in 1911, Johnny Eck (real name: Johnny Eckhardt) was born without a body below the waist and had a normal twin brother named Robert. Johnny joined the freak show circuit at the tender age of 12 and soon earned the title, “King of the Freaks.” In addition to Freaks, Johnny appeared in Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), Tarzan Escapes (1936) and Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941). Johnny and Robert toured the country as part of a famous magic show, performing a routine where Johnny was sawed in half much to the horror of many theatergoers. According to reports, Johnny had a genius IQ and was a highly talented painter, musician and gymnast. Johnny died of a heart attack in 1991. He is buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore alongside his brother.

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One Response to “Johnny Eck: King of the Freaks”

  1. sangvamp Says:

    I have heard that where one was shorted in one area they were more than compensated for in another. I wonder if Johnny would have been the greatly talented man that he was had he been born as what we see as normal?

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