Percilla's father, a native of
Spain, thought his hairy daughter would make an excellent sideshow
attraction, but didn't know how to go about it himself — especially as his
knowledge of English was scant. On a subsequent trip to the States,
Percilla's father approached showman Karl L. Lauther, who took an
immediate shine to Percilla. Lauther put her on his show and hired a woman
to help her father look after the little star, now known as "the Little
Hairy Girl". Percilla's father stayed with her for a while, but was
tragically shot and killed one night in Gainesville. According to
Percilla's father's wishes, and with the help of an attorney, Lauther
became Percilla's new adoptive father.
By all accounts Lauther
treated Percilla well, but did not fail to exhibit his daughter at every
possible opportunity. It was while in his employ that Percilla acquired
It was while performing with
the Johnny J. Jones Exposition that Percilla became acquainted with the
love of her life, Emmitt Bejano, the Alligator-skinned Man (a.k.a. Lobello).
A romance blossomed between the two and — to escape Lauther's protective
wrath — the couple eloped one night in 1938, returning to the stage
platform as the World's Strangest Married Couple. A year later Percilla
gave birth to a daughter, Francine, but the infant quickly succumbed to
Percilla and Emmitt worked
together for Ringling Brothers and other shows for a number of years.
However, after spending several decades in the business the couple retired
to a life away from prying eyes — where as Percilla put it, "The show's
over." Percilla and Emmitt enjoyed many years of restful retirement
together at their home in Tampa. Their long romance ended with Emmitt's
death in 1995. Percilla herself passed away in her sleep in February 2001.
Text from James
G. Mundie - Prodigies