• 6 April 1874
  •  Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

Peter Robinson


Peter Robinson was born the son of Norwegian immigrants. He stated that during his childhood, he had a normal appearance until his early teens when his weight began to drop rapidly. He first went on exhibition in 1895, working at Coney Island and later Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Robinson was married twice, both times to circus fat ladies. He married "Sweet Adaline" la France, his co-star in the Blue Ribbon Show in 1914. At the time of their marriage in Troy, New York, Pete (then known as "The Cigarette Fiend") was just 49 pounds and Adeline was 600. In fact, she was too large to enter the courtroom, so the judge performed the ceremony in the hallway. They honeymooned in Niagara Falls, but the marriage did not last. In 1916, while with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. 37-year old, 58 lb. Robinson married for the second time at Madison Square Garden to 18-year-old Helen "Bunny" Smith (1898-1951). a 467-pound Coney Island fat lady. Bunny later related that he had been involved with no fewer than eight fat women before he married her. In their circus act, Pete played to a patriotic audience during World War I by claiming that Bunny had tried to fatten him up with her cooking so he could serve in the Army, although in reality he was too old for the service. Apparently, over the years, the two were "married" over and over again for circus promotions purposes, and as an example, here is an article from the Indiana Evening Gazette dated November 26, 1924, eight years after they were originally married: "The living skeleton has married the fat lady. Pete Robinson, who is 45 years old and weighs 58 pounds soaking wet, and Baby Bunny Smith, aged 23, weight 467, got the necessary papers and were married in the Municipal Building. The bridegroom wore a striped shirt, one stripe on each side. The witnesses were Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Harris, in whose home the bride and bridegroom have occupied rooms. Living skeletons have been marrying fat ladies in circuses ever since Barnum had a show. The romance of Baby and Pete started in a Barnum & Bailey show eight years ago. Mrs. Harris said to reporters after giving the newlyweds her blessing, 'I never had easier people to feed. They are wonderful. She makes up for what he leaves. And he makes up for what she doesn't do. They are certainly ideally suited.'" Pete and Bunny seemed to find true love together, as friends reported that they were quite devoted to each other, and eventually had two children. They entertained crowds with a comical couples' dance on the Coney Island sideshow stage called Dreamland, and in 1928, Pete toured with a revue called "A Night at Coney Island," which performed at vaudeville theaters around the country, a rare experiment in those days. Robinson only screen appearance was in Tod Browning's Freaks (1932) as a circus performer who is overjoyed as he celebrates the fact that his wife, the Bearded Lady (Olga Roderick) has just given birth to their child, who is also bearded. By all accounts, his character in the film, the chatty, good-natured fellow who plays poker in the back of the tent and celebrates his baby's birth with a round of fine cigars, was not much of a stretch for Pete. He was a jovial man who loved to stubbornly argue about politics, and was rumored to be a classically trained Shakespearian actor and an expert harmonica player. Pete Robinson died in 1947 at the age of 72.


Movie Name Release Date
Τα τέρατα – Freaks (1932) February 20, 1932