Francesco (Frank) A. Lentini (May 18, 1881 – September 22, 1966) was born in Rosolini, Sicily into a family of twelve children (seven sisters and five brothers), well known for having three legs.
Lentini’s deformity was the result of a partially absorbed conjoined twin. The twin was attached to Frank Lentini’s body at the base of his spine and consisted of a pelvis bone, a rudimentary set of male genitalia and a full-sized leg extending from the right side of his body, with a small foot attached to this extra knee. It is recorded that Lentini had sixteen toes in total and two sets of functioning male sexual organs.
At the age of eight, Lentini’s family moved to the United States and went on to enter the sideshow business as The Great Lentini, joining the Ringling Brothers Circus act. He gained US citizenship at the age of 30. His career spanned over forty years and he worked with every major circus and sideshow including Barnum and Bailey and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Lentini was so respected among his peers that he was often simply called “The King”.
In his youth, Lentini used his extraordinary third leg to kick a football across the stage, hence his show name, the Three-Legged Football Player. By the time he was six, Lentini’s normal legs were slightly different in length—one was 39 inches, the other 38 inches—but the third leg was only 36 inches, and the foot on it was clubbed. Even more as an adult, while his extra leg was several inches shorter than the others, his primary legs were also two different lengths. He was heard to complain that even with three legs, he still didn’t have a pair. He married Theresa Murray, three years younger than him, and they had four children: Josephine, Natale, Frank and James. Frank Lentini died in Jacksonville, Florida on September 22, 1966 at the age of 85.
Lentini’s photo is featured on the back cover of rock band Alice in Chains’s 1995 self-titled album.