The world of Hollywood seems endlessly glamorous from the outside. However, no one knows more about the dark side of stardom than conjoined twins and child stars, Violet and Daisy Hilton!
When Daisy and Violet Hilton were born, no one could have predicted that they would ever become stars. In fact, their mother, Kate Skinner, believed that the girls were a punishment from the devil. It wasn't simply that the children were a product of an affair. They had a deformity so rare that it was nearly unheard of.
The twins' lower spines were connected, making them Siamese twins. Luckily, the girls shared no major organs. Their lives weren't in danger due to their deformity. Unfortunately, their mother was disgusted by their mutation and refused to keep them. And their adoptive mother was anything but sensitive to their connection!
Mary Hilton purchased the girls from Skinner not long after their birth. Immediately, she began to exploit the girls' deformity for her own gain. From selling postcards of them to tossing them into sideshows at circuses, Hilton did everything she could to earn a buck off the twins. As she abused and manipulated them into performing, the girls' bittersweet rise to fame started to rapidly progress!
Daisy and Violet were the first conjoined twins to make it past infancy, and this title soon gave them fame across the globe. Although Hilton grew less capable of exploiting them as she aged, her ambitious son-in-law, Myer Myers, began to take the reins. After the girls toured across Europe and Australia, he relocated them to the United States. In a few, short months, their careers as professional "freaks" skyrocketed.
When they gained U.S. citizenship, they became the most popular carnival act in the country. They also began to perform in films. However, their fame came at a devastating cost. At 11-years-old, when Mary Hilton finally passed away, the girls both longed for some autonomy. Myers kept the girls under lock and key to prevent them from escaping his manipulative clutches. One day, however, he pushed them over the edge!
While Daisy and Violet both reluctantly performed for Myers, they were horrified to learn he had destroyed flowers that a fan had sent. The girls physically attacked him, sued him for a bulk of their fortune, and earned more freedom than they had ever had before. But independence came with its own set of challenges!
The girls were grateful to have their freedom from Myers. However, they still had to cope with their connection to one another. This made getting romantically involved a challenge. The girls found ways to cope on their own, including sharing the same partner. However, advice from their friend, Harry Houdini is what truly transformed the lives of the twins!
Houdini taught the twins a trick: mental separation. He gave the sisters tools to exist apart from one another while either was engaging in sexual activity. This allowed the girls to explore their own relationships and romantic interests. Eventually, Violet seemed to find true love– yet their relationship ended in disaster.
Violet and her boyfriend, Maurice Lambert, became engaged in 1934. Daisy was supportive of their union. However, they were denied a license in over 20 states due to the belief that marrying one man and two women would be immoral. Lambert soon abandoned the relationship, and Violet's manager forced her to marry an old friend instead to restore the twins' public status. However, this ended as poorly as Violet's genuine relationship.
Fans eventually found out that Violet's public marriage had been a sham for attention. Rather than just losing interest, they completely rejected the once-famous twins. The girls became increasingly irrelevant until their deaths. Daisy died from the flu, and though Violet wasn't impacted by the illness, she passed just days after her sister. An extremely large coffin was built to fulfill the twins' last request: to stay conjoined in death.