Prince Randian was a Guyanese-born American circus performer. His extraordinary story drew the attention of many, including P.T. Barnum. Even if he was born with a congenital disability, he ended up using it for his advantage, to bring himself into the limelight and set himself apart from others.
Prince Randian did stunt after stunt otherwise thought impossible for someone like him. He was born without limbs but managed to live a life without anything disrupting him. He rose to fame and appeared in the movie Freaks. During his time on the performing scene, Prince Randian was a man who rose above where nature had placed him to a place of lasting remembrance.
In his day and time, he would be regarded as an influencer. To this day, he is still remembered for his acceptance of life as it is and for choosing to stay above the odds stacked against him.
Who Was Prince Randian?
The man who would go on to find fame as Prince Randian was not born into royalty. Prince Randian was born in Demerara, Guyana, in 1874. Since it was a remote place, not much is known about his early life back home in Guyana.
His name became famous when the former sideshow performer, P.T. Barnum, brought him to the United States and traveled across the country to perform in circuses. The real name of Prince Randian was not known, but his performing name drew a lot of attention.
He was a very cultured man, intelligent and polite, as prince Randian spoke four languages fluently. These were: Hindi, English, French, and German. On top of it all, Prince Randian also had a witty sense of humor and was incredibly charming. This meant that he had no problem developing relationships with women. He eventually married Princess Sarah, and they had four children.
Before being brought to mainland America by P.T. Barnum, he moved to a home in Charlotte Amalie, US Virgin Islands. Despite being born without arms or legs, a condition known as tetra-amelia syndrome, Prince Randian harnessed other abilities to make himself uniquely different. Over time he learned how to shave, paint, write and roll his cigarette without clumsiness.
Later in life, after retiring from the circus as a wealthy man, Prince Randian and his family lived a quiet life working on a farm in New Jersey.
Prince Randian An P.T. Barnum
In 1889, when Prince Randian was 18, P.T. Barnum found him in Guyana. He was astonished by his uniqueness and his will to overcome the troubles that life dealt him. This led P.T. Barnum to later offer to Prince Randian to travel with him to America, pursuing a career in sideshow performing.
Shortly after, Prince Randian familiarized himself with the sideshow. He would end up performing for 45 years.
Even though he was born without limbs, he used this to the best of his ability. During his performances, he would wear a wool garment that covered his torso. This would make him seem to take the appearance of a worm, potatoes, or snake while we wiggled himself on stage during a performance.
The one-piece wool garment fit tightly over his body, and he would move around the stage by wiggling his hips and shoulders. Prince Randian's best-known ability was rolling and lighting cigarettes using only his lips. Along with this, he was also capable of painting and writing by holding a brush or stylus with his lips and even shaving by securing a razor in a wooden block.
Prince Randian soon became a star of Barnum's shows, including the one he ran on Coney Island. He was given a fancy name and an exotic back story. Along with the performances in cities, he would also tour with Barnum's traveling circus.
He kept all of the props and materials used in his act in a wooden box that he reportedly constructed, painted, and affixed a lock to by himself. The audience paid not just to look at Prince Randian but to see him perform. His famous trick of rolling and then lighting cigarettes using just his lips was ultimately a trick he performed for the MGM movie Freaks.
Away from the circus, Prince Randian married and even fathered three daughters and a son. He made a home for his family in an upscale part of New York City and carried on working into his 60s. He might have been working for longer if he hadn't died of a heart attack in December 1963. Even his death transpired on the stage that he loved so much.
As a result of his different routines, his viewers called him by different names. If it was being called the human caterpillar man, snake man, or Human Cigarette, he never failed to awe on stage. It is alleged that Prince Randian always claimed he was going to build a house by himself. It is not known if he ever tried that feat or not.
The Private Life Of Prince Randian
Not much is known about Prince Randian's life, not even his real name, although some information has surfaced over the years. We all know that he suffered from tetra-amelia syndrome. This is a problematic birth syndrome from which newborns usually die. It is an autosomal disorder that causes children to be born without limbs. However, Prince Randian survived and used this to his advantage.
P.T. Barnum claims that Randian was a Hindu man and spoke Hindi. Later in life, he also mastered English, French, and German.
He lived a relatively normal life. During his career, he married a woman named Sarah, who was later named Princess Sarah. The pair had four children, Mary, Elizabeth, Wilhelmina, and a son, Richard. Prince Randian's family came with him when he moved to the United States. In the late 19th century, they settled in Plainfield, New Jersey, while Randian had performances all over the country.
Later in his career, he worked for the Krauss Amusement company in the 1920s and performed in many gigs. His residence till his death was at 174, Waterstreet, New Jersey. As a sideshow entertainer, Prince Randian is favorably remembered to have overcome impairment.
Shortly after performing at the Sam Wagners 14th street museum, he suffered a heart attack and died on 19th December 1934, at the age of 63. Prince Randian left a legacy that speaks a lot about embracing our uniqueness no matter what mother nature throws our way. As the saying goes: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!