Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! The gravesite of the most famous midget is here, in Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for all to enjoy.
When he was born, Charles Stratton—renamed General Tom Thumb when P. T. Barnum discovered him in 1842—weighed in at nine pounds. Everything was going well until he hit 15 pounds. Then 2-feet, 1-inch in length and five months of age, Stratton stopped growing.
That didn’t stop the wee one from a life that included fame, fortune and a same-size wife, Lavinia Warren (1841-1919), whom he wed on February 10, 1863. Theirs was the most celebrated marriage of its time, making front-page news. Nearly 2,000 guests attended; the bride and groom stood on top a grand piano to greet guests. So famous was he and she that President and Mrs. Lincoln sent wedding gifts.
On July 15, six months after Tom and Lavinia nearly died in a Milwaukee hotel fire that killed 71 people (they were saved by their manager), Stratton died of a stroke. He was 45 years old, measured in at 3-feet, 4-inches and 70 pounds. More than 10,000 people attended his funeral. Barnum purchased a life-sized statue of his money-making midget, and placed it on top his grave. (It has since been replaced after the original was destroyed by vandals.) Lavinia died, at age 73, on November 25, and though she had remarried (her second husband was Count Primo Magri, an Italian dwarf), she is buried next to Stratton, in a grave simply reminding visitors she was “His Wife.”
More about dead celebs! My book, MORBID CURIOSITY: The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous, has gotten rave reviews from celebs not dead . . . yet.
“Alan has written a very funny, very clever book-it’s shocking and sinful, and I couldn’t put it down. He leaves no gravestone unturned, nothing buried. Morbid Curiosity is part Six Feet Under, part Mad magazine. It’ll make a killing!” – Joan Rivers
“Even celebrities die, and they do so in far more grand-scale ways than mere mortals. Now that they’ve met their maker, they’ve also found their chronicler, Alan W. Petrucelli. He unearths the demises of the rich and infamous-from Valentino to Heath Ledger and beyond-with detailed research, dishy wit and insight. This book is to die for!” – Michael Musto
“Morbid Curiosity is a cornucopia of Hollywood gossip and tidbits, much more humorous than macabre, delivered from a different point of view than any book I’ve read about celebs. It’s breezy, pithy, informative, odd and, despite its subject matter, certain to amuse.” – Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies