Robert Melvin: The Man With Two Faces

Missouri born Robert Melvin (1920-1995) was afflicted with a condition known as neurofibromatosis, which caused distorting tumors on the right side of his face. He didn’t literally have two faces; the two sides of his face differed drastically from one another in appearance.

Melvin worked the sideshows of Coney Island starting in 1949 billed as “The Man with Two Faces” and “The Modern Elephant Man“. He also worked the Royal American Shows and for Whitey Sutton at the James E. Strates carnival company and claimed to have worked “every state fair east of the Mississippi”. He also appeared in the horror films The Other (1972), Sisters (1972), and The Sentinel (1977), and the documentaries Being Different (1981) and I am Not a Freak (1987). In between performing engagements, Melvin earned extra money as a bookkeeper. There are great clips of him and his family on Youtube. Yes, his family! He was married to the same woman for 40 years, and they raised a family on the road, although they eventually settled down in his hometown of Lancaster, Missouri, and was a beloved member of his local community.