Saturday, April 18, 2009

Eddie Carmel

"Jewish Giant" Eddie Carmel (1936-1972) was immortalized in this image taken by American photographer Diane Arbus (1923-1971) in 1970. Eddie was born to Jewish immigrant parents, lived in the Bronx, and began growing uncontrollably due to acromegaly as a teenager. He reached a height of 8' 9", then shrunk due to scoliosis. He is the subject of a Sound Portrait that can be listened to here. The documentary aired on NPR, and producer Stacy Abramson explains, "Eddie Carmel was a normal guy, trapped inside the body of a monster and frozen in a famous photograph....This program is our way of bringing him back to life and making him three-dimensional." Normal occupations were not open to this smart and sensitive man. He couldn't help but draw attention to himself, so he exhibited himself on stage in a series of sideshows. He also starred in B-grade monster movies - The Brain that Wouldn't Die and 50,000 B.C. (Before Clothing), and made two 45 records - "The Happy Giant" and "The Good Monster". As his condition worsened, he became more and more depressed about his fate. Eddie's family, interviewed in the Sound Portrait by his cousin Jenny Carchman, knew him and describe him as a giant - figuratively, as well as physically.

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