Famous Twins - The Top Ten List of the Most Famous and Not So Famous Twins of All Time
This is a list of the top ten most famous and not so famous twins of all time. Some of these twins you will recognize. And in some cases both of twins are both famous, while in other cases only one twin is famous and the other is so little known that you probably didn't even know they had a twin.
1. Romulus and Remus
These legendary founders of Rome were said to have been the sons of the Roman god of war, Mars, and to have been raised by wolves. If that wasn't enough, they went on to found the City of Rome which grew into the greatest empire that the world has ever seen.
Unfortunately a dispute between the two twin brothers led to Romulus killing Remus. Which apparently is why the city was afterwards called Rome and not Remulus. It's a remarkable myth full of rich symbolism and improbable occurrences. Not only are twins rare, but twins raised by wolves have to be an even rarer thing. An interesting modern interpretation of this myth states that the "wolf" in the story was not of the four footed variety, but rather a female prostitute, since it seems that "she wolf" was one of the Roman slang terms for members of the oldest profession.
Elvis - Jailhouse Rock Music Video
2. Elvis Presley
What?! You mean Elvis had a twin brother?!
Yes, it's true. Elvis had a twin brother. Unfortunately, his twin brother Jesse Garon died at birth. I bet the guy would have made the ultimate Elvis impersonator.
Of course, if you believe the conspiracy theories that Elvis is still alive ... maybe Elvis's brother didn't die at birth but instead lived on into adulthood and is now buried in Elvis's place, allowing Elvis to enjoy his retirement.
What Is It Like Being Twins?
3. Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren
These twin sisters both became advice columnists and gave out advice for over fifty years, suggesting that their genes may have had something to do with their career choice.
4. Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen started their careers on the 1980s sitcom "Full House" where they each played the same character. Because of laws limiting the hours that children their age could work, the producers hired twins and got the laws by having the twins split the acting between them. As a result, in a move guaranteed to create an identity crisis and require years of therapy, both Olsen twins played one half of the same character.
Now all grown up, Mary-Kate Olsen apparently knows how to help drug overdose victims because she was the first person that Heath Ledger's housekeeper thought of calling when she discovered Ledger unconscious. Calling 911 allegedly was not her first choice.
Did You Know?
Did you know that ...
- the word "twin" comes from the Anglo-Saxon getwinn, which means "that which is divided"
- twins born to members of the Galoa, an African tribe, are always named Wora and Yeno. Wora means "first born" and Yeno means "second born"
- identical twins do not have identical fingerprints
- According to the Guinness Book of Records Twins Days in Twinsburg, Ohio is the largest annual gathering of twins in the world.
- You have a Google Twin.
5. Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczynski
Jarosław and Lech Kaczyński - hardly household names in this country but they are quire famous in their native Poland where they started as child actors and then became its Prime Minister and President (at the same time). There is hope for the Olsen twins too.
These twins' rise to power reminds us of those other famous leaders, Romulus and Remus. Hopefully they will not have a murderous falling out like their mythical counter parts.
Tegan and Sara - Back in Your Head Video
6. Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara Quin are identical twins and indie singer-songwriters. Although not superstars, their albums and songs have been praised in the music media and fellow musicians. Their CDs have been featured on several influential "best of" lists. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine named their album So Jealous as one the best 50 albums of the year.
7. The Kray Brothers
The Kray Brothers (Reggie and Ronnie Kray) were notoriously violent underworld bosses that dominated London's East End in the 1950s and 60s. They were implicated in arsons, extorsion schemes, and the murder and torture of rivals. These gangsters were eventually caught and convicted in 1969 and sentenced to life in prison.
A common trope in movies and books is that of the evil twin, and how to tell the innocent one from the criminal. In this type of story line, the evil twin tries to get away with it by blaming his brother or sister, which is something that actually worked in Singapore where a man avoided the death penalty for smuggling drugs by blaming it all on an evil twin, which may not even have existed. The Kray brothers' mistake was to both go into crime, which made it impossible to put the blame on the other one, since they were both guilty.
8. The Siamese Twins
Chang and Eng Bunker were two conjoined twins from Thailand (formerly known as Siam) that immigrated to the Southern United States. They became world-famous. Their condition and birthplace (Siam) gave rise to the term "Siamese Twins".
Despite being joined together, the original Siamese twins enjoyed successful lives. They became rich farmers, married (two non-identical sisters), had children. Incredibly, the Siamese twins were accepted as respected members of White pre-Civil War society and were even slave owners.
Their conjoined status created some oddities in their personal lives. When the twins first married they set up a communal household but their wives did not get along and so the twins set up separate homes, with the twins dividing their time between each home.
9. Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake had a twin sister Laura Katherine who died shortly after birth. He sometimes mentions her in the liner notes of his CDs. Many twins who survive the death of their other twin find it very difficult to cope because it is like losing a part of yourself.
10. Patty and Selma Bouvier
These gorgeous ladies are the surprisingly single twin sisters of Marge Simpson, on the cartoon show the Simpsons. If any twins out there are looking for love, these gals are a great catch!
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© 2008 Robert P