The Truth About Schlitzie The Pinhead


The Truth About Schlitzie The Pinhead


One sad truth about sideshow performers is that a great many of them had shorter-than-average lives. They often had medical conditions that gave them their unique traits, but in many cases, those same conditions claimed them at an earlier age than the typical lifespan of the time. It was not uncommon for sideshow performers to be on the circuit for a few just years, then retire early, or even to die while on the road.

Schlitzie was actually one of the exceptions to this. He died on September 24th, 1971, according to his death certificate, which can be seen on Find a Death. He's listed as having died at the age of 70, based on the September 10th, 1901 birthdate. However, since that birthdate is unconfirmed, it's possible that Schlitzie was older, possibly even in his 80s, when he passed away. While microcephaly doesn't necessarily mean a shorter lifespan, it can depend on the severity of the condition.

Schlitzie had been unwell for a while and spent some time in the hospital, but he was eventually transferred to Fountain View Convalescent Home, where he spent his remaining days. His cause of death was listed as bronchial pneumonia brought on by medullary depression. That's a physical condition, not a mental state. Essentially, due to his advanced age, Schlitzie was unable to fight off a respiratory illness and eventually succumbed. He was buried on October 7th, 1971.



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