World’s Oldest Conjoined Twins, Lori and George Schappell, die at age 62

Lori and George Schappell, the world’s oldest living conjoined twins, have died.

The twins passed away on April 7 of undisclosed causes, according to joint obituaries published by Leibensperger Funeral Homes in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

The Schappell twins were born in Pennsylvania on Sept. 18, 1961. The pair, who were 62 years and 202 days old, held the record for the oldest living conjoined twins, according to the Guinness World Records website.

Prior to George Schappell’s coming out as transgender later in 2007, the twins also held the record for oldest female conjoined twins ever. After George Schappell came out, they became the first set of same-sex conjoined twins to identify as different genders, the site explained.

The Schappell twins were craniopagus twins, meaning they lived with partially fused skulls. The pair shared vital blood vessels and 30% of their brains, according to Guinness. They were the rarest form of conjoined twinning, representing only 2-6% of cases.

The twins were conjoined by the forehead facing in opposite directions and were unable to see each other, according to a 2005 profile about the Schappell siblings in New York.

Surgeries to separate conjoined twins like themselves were not possible when the Schappells were born, not that they ever wanted to be separated.

“I don’t believe in separation,” Lori Schappell told the Los Angeles Times in 2002. “I think you are messing with God’s work.”

Despite their physical togetherness, the twins lived very different lives.

Lori Schappell was able to walk while her brother, who was four inches shorter, had been diagnosed with spina bifida and couldn’t walk on his own, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2002. So, Lori Schappell pushed her sibling around on a movable stool wherever they went.

George Schappell worked for years as a professional country singer, even booking gigs overseas. Lori Schappell earned a college degree and worked in a hospital. While Lori Schappell packed medical instruments, George would sit quietly with a book, the pair told the Los Angeles Times.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium Grand Opening - June 21, 2007
Lori Schappell pushes her brother George on a stool at an event in New York City in 2007.Jason Kempin / FilmMagic

As they grew up together, the pair figured out creative ways to accommodate each other. While Lori Schappell liked to shower in the evening, her brother preferred to shower at the start of each day. They came up with a technique that allowed one twin to bathe while the other stayed dry.

“Normal is whatever you make of it, but we’re very happy,” Lori Schappelltold the Los Angeles Times. “It all comes down to compromise. If more people in life did that, the world would be a better place.”

The twins lived the first 24 years of their lives in an institution for mentally disabled people after their “frightened and confused parents” placed them there, according to the New York magazine profile.

They were able to leave the institution only after the wife of former Pennsylvania governor Richard Thornburgh helped prove to state officials that they did not suffer intellectual disabilities, the magazine reported.

The twins later moved into a high-rise apartment designed for the elderly in Reading, Pennsylvania, where they lived on their own.

The Schappell twins were featured in several television documentaries and talk shows.

They also acted in a 2004 episode of “Nip/Tuck,” portraying fictional conjoined twins Rose and Raven Rosenberg, according to

First appeared on

Leave a Comment