Twice as Nice: A Look at Famous Twins
By: Linnea Crowther
4 years ago
If one is good, two must be even better, right? It's logic that works with many of our favorite things, from chocolates to vacation days to winning lottery tickets… and even our favorite celebrities. Some of the stars we love come in pairs, having been born twins.
Each August, the town of Twinsburg, Ohio celebrates Twins Days, billed as the world's largest annual gathering of twins. Here at Legacy, we're celebrating Twins Days with a gathering of our own – we've put together a list of some of the greatest famous twins who have entertained us in years past. Double the talent, double the fun makes these celebrity sibling pairs twice as nice.
Ann Landers and Dear Abby. The advice queens of the 20th century were actually twin sisters. Born Esther Pauline Friedman and Pauline Esther Friedman on the 4th of July, 1918, they attended Sioux City, Iowa's Morningside College together, where they whetted their appetite for journalism by co-writing a gossip column for the college paper. They would move on to parallel jobs in the newspaper world, Pauline launching her Dear Abby advice column just months after 17-minutes-older Esther took the reins as the new Ann Landers. The sisters famously did not get along for years as they wrote their competing columns and frequently were not on speaking terms with each other, but they reconciled before their deaths in 2002 (Esther/Ann) and 2013 (Pauline/Abby).
Pauline (Dear Abby) Friedman and Esther (Ann Landers) Friedman at their 50th high school reunion in 1986 (AP Photo/John Gaps III)
Robin and Maurice Gibb. These fraternal twins, born 22 December 1949, made up two-thirds of legendary disco group The Bee Gees (older brother Barry was the other third of the trio). Throughout their lives, the musical brothers found joy in working together, from their first band, The Rattlesnakes – formed when the twins were barely in grade school – through their international stardom as Bee Gees and on through solo projects. When Maurice died in 2003, Robin noted, "We were kids together, and teenagers. We spent the whole of our lives with each other because of our music. I can't accept that he's dead. I just imagine he's alive somewhere else." Robin died less than a decade later, in 2012.
The Dolly Sisters. In the days of Vaudeville, Roszika and Janszeika Deutsch – aka Rosie and Jenny Dolly – were dancing stars, appearing in theatres and dance halls and in movies. Born in Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 25, 1892, they made their mark in New York. Initially banned from the stage for being too young, they went on to star with the Ziegfeld Follies. Though the sisters died in 1941 (Jenny) and 1970 (Rosie), they live on in the 1945 biopic "The Dolly Sisters," starring June Haver and Betty Grable. And the twins' scandalous affair with department store tycoon Harry Gordon Selfridge was one inspiration for the recent series "Mr. Selfridge," starring Jeremy Piven as the man they brought down.
The Borden Twins. Rosalyn and Marilyn Borden, born May 29, 1932, were actors on stage and screen, performing at USO shows and on TV programs from "The Jimmy Durante Show," on which they were regulars, to "CHiPs" to "Maude" to a memorable episode of "I Love Lucy" – remembered by them as the highlight of their career. Rosalyn and Marilyn died in 2003 and 2009, respectively, but their work lives on in reruns.
Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt and Thelma Furness. The twin socialites were the toast of the town (that town being New York City) in the early 1920s, when they were known as "The Magnificent Morgans." Born Aug. 23, 1904, the sisters shared an apartment as young debutantes before their love lives led them on different paths. Gloria married railroad heir Reginald Vanderbilt, who died just two years after their marriage and left her embroiled in a custody battle for their daughter, future jeans designer Gloria Vanderbilt. As for Thelma, she moved to England and married a Viscount before becoming involved with Prince Edward, who would later make history when he abdicated the throne to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson (who was first introduced to the prince by her dear friend… Thelma). In their later years, Gloria and Thelma once again shared an apartment, and they wrote the memoir "Double Exposure" together before their deaths – Gloria in 1965 and Thelma in 1970.
The Hager Twins. Jim and Jon Hager were country music singers and comedians, best known for being Hee Haw cast members from 1969 to 1986. Born Aug. 30, 1941 in Chicago, they got their start as teenagers singing on a local TV show. As adults, they released a number of albums, appeared in Playgirl magazine, and guested on TV shows like "The Bionic Woman." But it was for "Hee Haw" that they are best remembered. The Hagers died less than a year apart – Jim in 2008 and Jon in 2009.
Dennis and Philip Crosby. Sons of Bing Crosby, these twin brothers, born July 13, 1934, were singers and occasional actors. Along with their older brother Gary and younger brother Lindsay, they formed the singing group The Crosby Boys, appearing in nightclubs and on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Professionally, the twins found some success thanks to their talent and their famous family name, but their personal lives were difficult, and they struggled with alcoholism and emotional problems. Dennis killed himself in 1991, and Philip died of a heart attack in 2004.
Julius and Philip Epstein. These twins shared a writing talent that would propel them to the height of screenwriting success. Born Aug. 22, 1909, the brothers grew up in New York City and attended Penn State together. They began working together as screenwriters in 1939, and just three years later, their pens produced one of the greatest movies of all time – "Casablanca," for which the brothers won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. Over the next decade, they wrote several more movies together, but Philip died of cancer in 1952, leaving Julius to continue on without him. Though he had great success on his own, including two Oscar nominations, Julius missed his twin and writing partner for the rest of his life, until his own death in 2000.
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman will always have Paris, and thanks to the Epstein twins, we’ll always have "Casablanca."