These Rare Vintage Photos Show What The Circus Looked Like A Century Ago

Circus Performers Were Marginalized

maurice tillet the inspiration behind the character shrek
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Although the circus drew hundreds of thousands of spectators annually, many circus performers were marginalized, often seen as outcasts. Pictured above is Maurice Tillet, also known as The French Angel. His strange bone structure was thanks to a benign tumor that resulted in bone overgrowth.

He began as a professional wrestler but his abnormal appearance drew crowds at the circus. His image actually served as the inspiration behind the animated character Shrek.