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March 16: The Jewish Giant

lawrencebush
March 16, 2014
600full-eddie-carmelEddie Carmel, a sideshow entertainer popularly known as "The Jewish Giant," was born in Tel Aviv on this date in 1936. Carmel suffered from gigantism and acromegaly resulting from pituitary gland problems. He advertised his height as a record-breaking 9 feet, with a weight of 535 pounds and a shoe size 35, but his true height was probably 7'7". He also had a terrifically deep voice and was sought after for commercials, voice-overs, and endorsements. Carmel traveled with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1960s, acted in a 1962 horror film, The Brain That Wouldn't Die, and fronted a rock band, Frankenstein and the Brain Surgeons. He was made famous by a Diane Arbus photograph, "Jewish Giant, taken at Home with His Parents in the Bronx, NY," taken in 1970, two years before his death from heart failure at age 36. To see photos of him, set to a recording he made called "The Good Monster," look below. "About the only thing I can buy in a store is a handkerchief or an umbrella." -Eddie Carmel