The details on Schlitzie’s death certificate and grave indicate that he was born on September 10, 1901, in The Bronx, New York, despite some sources claiming that he was actually born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Schlitzie’s real birthdate, name, and parents’ identities are unknown. Claims that Schlitzie was born in Yucatán, Mexico, are false reflections of his erroneous billing as “Maggie, last of the Aztec Children,” which appears occasionally.

Schlitzie’s Mysterious true Origin

Schlitzie’s true origin and background may never be known because the information was lost as he was passed from one carnival to another in a string of usually unofficial guardianships during the throughout of his career.

The prevailing consensus is that Schlitzie was born on September 10, 1901, in the Bronx as Simon Metz. But it doesn’t really matter what his real name is. What matters is that everyone who knew him or had met him felt inspired by his unwavering energy. Schlitzie was a kind, vivacious, and gregarious man who enjoyed dancing, singing, and being the center of attention. He would put on a show for everybody he could stop and chat with.

Intellectual Handicap


Schlitzie was born with significant intellectual handicap, microcephalus, a short stature (approximately four feet tall), myopia, and an exceptionally small brain and skull. These characteristics might have been brought on by Seckel syndrome. He was able to talk only in monosyllabic words and create a few simple phrases, but it was thought that he had the mental capacity of a three-year-old. He was also unable to care for himself completely.

Schlitzie was billed under such names as “The Last of the Aztecs,” “The Monkey Girl,” and “What Is It?” Microcephalic persons were typically promoted as “pinheads” or “missing links” on the sideshow circuit. He performed alongside another microcephalic act in various sideshows.

Long Career


Schlitzie had a long career and was billed as female. This was mostly because of his dress-like clothes, which he chose only because of his incontinence. Schlitzie was much liked by the general public, but his closest friends were his coworkers and caregivers. It is difficult to put into words the reasons for this affection, but Schlitzie’s awe for the commonplace, his childish joy, and his eternal innocence had a profound impact on people around him.

Schlitzie was a beam of sunshine, and everyone in his vicinity was blessed by his smile and unwavering love.
Schlitzie amused millions of carnival and moviegoers over the course of his lengthy career. Although he also starred in Island Of Lost Souls with Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi, he is perhaps most remembered for his part in Tod Browning’s 1932 cult classic horror movie Freaks.

Slideshow Performer

Schlitzie worked as a sideshow performer for all the big names in the industry. Schlitzie has appeared in performances by the Dobritsch International Circus, the Vanteen & Lee Circus Sideshow, the Clyde Beatty Circus, the Tom Mix Circus, the West Coast Shows, and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Schlitzie was given legal guardianship by chimpanzee trainer George Surtees during the 1936 season of the Tom Mix Circus sideshow despite the fact that he had no known birth relatives. By all accounts, Surtees was a kind and devoted caretaker, but after his death in 1965, his daughter had Schlitzie admitted to a Los Angeles County Hospital.

Schlitzie was institutionalized

Schlitzie was institutionalized for a long time until sword swallower Bill Unks recognized him. Schlitzie was visibly sad and depressed when Unks, who was working at the hospital during the off-season, happened to notice him. Schlitzie was missing his companions, the carnival, and the love of the throng. Schlitzie would benefit most from returning to the sideshow, where he performed until 1968, and becoming a ward of Unks’ employer, showman Sam Kortes, according to hospital officials.

His final significant performance took place at the 1968 Dobritch International Circus held at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. He thereafter resided in Los Angeles and occasionally performed on other sideshow circuits both domestically and abroad (he frequently performed in Hawaii and London). Schlitzie’s caregivers sold his stock carnival souvenir photos, and he also gained notoriety for his street performances in Hollywood.

In his latter days, Schlitzie spent time on Santa Monica Boulevard. He enjoyed visiting to MacArthur Park on Alvarado Street and Wilshire Boulevard, where he and his guardian would visit the lake, feed the birds and ducks, and entertain onlookers.
In the age of 70, Schlitzie passed away at Fountain View Convalescent Home on September 24, 1971.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *