Prince Randian

Prince Randian (sometimes misspelled Rardion or Randion; October 12, 1871 – December 19, 1934), also nicknamed The Snake Man, The Human Torso, The Human Caterpillar and a variety of other names, was a Guyanese-born American performer with tetra-amelia syndrome and a famous limbless sideshow performer of the early 1900s, best known for his ability to roll cigarettes with his lips. He was reportedly brought to the United States by P.T. Barnum in 1889, age 18 and was a popular Coney Island carnival and circus attraction for 45 years. Prince Randian (credited "Rardion") was featured in the 1932 film Freaks, his only film appearance, in which he is seen lighting up a cigarette with a match.

Prince Randian
Prince Randian
BornOctober 12, 1871
DiedDecember 19, 1934 (aged 63)
NationalityGuyanese American
Other names
  • Rardion
  • The Living Torso
  • The Caterpillar Man
  • The Human Cigar
  • The Human Caterpillar/Worm
OccupationSideshow performer and film actor
Years active1889–1934
Known forFreaks (1932 film)
Spouse(s)Princess Sarah
ChildrenMary Randian
Richard Randian
Elizabeth Randian
Wilhelmina Randian

Personal lifeEdit

Randian (whose birth name is unknown) was born with no arms and legs in Demerara, British Guyana. He was Hindu and spoke Hindi, English, French, and German.[1] According to a passenger manifest of SS Parima from April 14, 1917, he had lived previously at Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. With his wife, known as Princess Sarah (apparently a Hindu woman, born circa 1872), he fathered three daughters and a son. Their children were Mary Randian (born circa 1893), Richard Randian (born circa 1901), Elizabeth Randian (born circa 1904), and Wilhelmina Randian (born circa 1904).[2] In the 1920s he was working for Krause Amusement Company and lived in Plainfield, New Jersey. He and his wife lived at 174 Water Street, Paterson, New Jersey, until his death.[3]


For his act, Randian wore a one-piece wool garment that fit tightly over his body, giving him the appearance of a caterpillar, snake or potato, and would move himself around the stage by wiggling his hips and shoulders. His best-known ability was rolling and lighting cigarettes using only his lips, but he was also capable of painting and writing by holding a brush or stylus with his lips and of shaving himself by securing a razor in a wooden block. 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.

His cigarette-lighting ability was featured in the MGM film Freaks.


Randian died at 7:00 PM on December 19, 1934, aged 63, of a heart attack shortly after his last performance at Sam Wagner's 14th Street Museum in New York.

In popular cultureEdit

Prince Randian is mentioned in Tom Waits' song Lucky Day (Overture) from his album The Black Rider, about sideshow performers.[4]

See alsoEdit

  • Violetta, another limbless sideshow performer


  1. ^ "Prince Randian". Freaks of Nature.
  2. ^ List of Alien Passengers for the United States, S.S. Motor Schooner "Creole", from St. Thomas, 1 November 1915.
  3. ^ Frederick, Drimmer (1973). Very Special People. Bantam Books. p. 103. ISBN 0-8065-1253-9.
  4. ^

External linksEdit