Little Miss Leitzel
May 9, 2007 12:45 AM Subscribe
The diminutive but intensely powerful Lillian Leitzel was known for her fiery temper, her flirtatious banter, and her ability to spin her entire body in the air while supporting herself by only one hand upwards of 200 times in a row, much like a human pinwheel. She was one of the Ringling Bros. brightest (and most petulant) stars, famously firing and re-hiring her maid several times a day. She married 3 times - (the second marriage ended after she cut off her husband's finger) but her last marriage was to the purported love her life, trapeze artist Alfredo Codona, a master of the triple back summersault off the flying trapeze who also enjoyed success as a Hollywood stunt double . Their passionate (if mercurial) relationship was cut short when, during a performance, Lillian's ring broke, and she fell 45 feet onto a concrete floor. Two days later she was dead. Alfredo, devastated, became reckless and was injured in a fall of his own, cutting short his career. His subsequent marriage to another performer failed, and while meeting with a lawyer to finalize their divorce, he shot her and then himself. Alfredo and Lillian are reunited in death, buried under a marker of their lives and love.
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