Mary Ann Bevan, “The Ugliest Woman in the World”
She said that; I didn’t say that! She said that!
Born this day in England in 1874, Mary Ann Webster married Thomas Bevan in 1903, and began to develop the condition known as acromegaly soon thereafter. Bevan must have loved her very much; he not only stayed with her, but subsequently collaborated with her on the inception of four children.
When he passed away in 1914, it was necessary for her to find work. Starting in 1920, she found it at the sideshow at Dreamland in Coney Island. She also worked for Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey before she finally passed away in 1933. (Acromegaly is a condition that causes unnatural growth of the extremities. Bevan suffered from headaches and blindness, and no doubt it was the condition that shortened her life).
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc