DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Zip the Pinhead (aged 68 – 69)
Freak show performer
William Henry Johnson (c. 1857 – April 9, 1926) known as Zip the Pinhead was an American freak show performer famous for his tapered head.
DEATH: Zip caught bronchitis in early 1926, and despite the wishes of his doctor and Captain White, he continued to perform his part in the stage play Sunny at the New Amsterdam Theater. Upon the closing of the play, he returned to his home in Bound Brook, New Jersey, where he was cared for by his doctor, Captain White, and his sister. When his condition worsened, he was moved to Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where he died.
It is estimated that during his 67 years in show business, Zip entertained more than one hundred million people. He was termed “The Dean of Freaks”. His funeral was attended by some of the most popular side show acts, including Lady Olga Roderick, the Bearded Lady; Frank Graf and a tattooed man. During the ceremonies, the distraught Captain White collapsed, and he died three days later.
Zip the Pinhead was buried in Plot 399 of the Bound Brook Cemetery on April 28, 1926. A small gravestone bearing the inscription “William H. Johnson, 1857–1926” marks his resting place. However, his age as written on his burial certificate is 83 years, which would have meant he was born in 1842 or 1843, which seems more likely considering his 1860 photograph; 1857 is more likely the year he began his career.