The remarkable story of conjoined twins, Lori and George Schappell.

For 62 years, Lori and George Schappell defied all medical odds. 

The American conjoined twins passed away in April 2024 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania due to undisclosed causes, as per their obituaries. They were 62 years and 202 days old, a remarkable feat according to doctors. 

Whenever they were asked in interviews if they wished they had been born non-conjoined, the twins were adamant in their response.

"Absolutely not," George said on Jerry Springer. "My theory is: why fix what is not broken? We would not give permission for it."

Born in Pennsylvania in 1961, Lori and George had partially fused skulls, sharing vital blood vessels and 30 per cent of their brains (the frontal and parietal lobes). They were connected at the sides of their foreheads and looked in opposite directions. Doctors had told their parents that they likely wouldn't live past 30.

While Lori was able-bodied, George had spina bifida and as a result he used an adaptive wheeled stool that his twin pushed around. 

Watch: a look back at conjoined twins Abigail and Brittany Hensel on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996. Post continues below.

Video via The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The twins were institutionalised for approximately 20 years during their childhood and teenage period. 


Medical experts at the time assumed Lori and George were developmentally disabled, though neither had an intellectual disability. Ginny Thornburgh, the wife of Gov. Dick Thornburgh of Pennsylvania, campaigned often for those with a disability and she helped the twins be moved to different housing and learn independence, according to the New York Times.

In 1997, the pair took part in a True Lives documentary.

It provided insight into their daily life, how they performed everyday tasks and maintained one another's privacy while conjoined.

Having a shower, the twins would take turns manoeuvering under the showerhead and would each place the shower curtain over their eyes while their sibling was washing. 

While George was practicing his music and singing, Lori said she would "zone out" mentally and not speak, so as to give George the time and space he needed. They also lived independently in a two-bedroom flat in Pennsylvania, and took turns sleeping in each other's rooms. 

"Just because we cannot get up and walk away from each other, doesn't mean we can't have solitude from other people or ourselves. People who are conjoined can have a very private life. It's the whole thing — compromise," Lori explained.

"We are two human beings, we were just brought into the world connected through one area of the body."

They were individuals. George had red hair for a long time, whereas Lori's was dark brown. The twins had different hobbies, different senses of style and dress, and different perspectives and opinions. 


They both also graduated from high school and took college classes. George enjoyed a successful career as a country singer, and Lori was an award-winning ten-pin bowler. She also worked at a hospital laundry for several years, sorting her work schedule around George's singing gigs. George's singing career reached a level where he had shows performing in Japan, North America and Europe.

"It was such different extremes, but we supported each other the whole time," Lori later said in an interview with BBC Radio in 2006.

George added: "When I am singing, Lori is like another fan, except she's up onstage with me — covered by a blanket to reduce the distraction."

Lori and George appearing on Britain's This Morning program in 2011. Image: ITV.


In the mid 2000s, George — who had been assigned female at birth — came out as transgender.

Speaking to The Sun in 2011, George said his decision to share his gender identity with the world was done in a bid to "continue living life to the full".

"I have known from a very young age that I should have been a boy. I loved playing with trains and hated girly outfits. I kept my desire to change sex hidden — even from Lori — for many years," he said.

"It was so tough, but I was getting older and I simply didn't want to live a lie. I knew I had to live my life the way I wanted."

Guinness World Records noted that George's gender transition made him and Lori the first set of conjoined twins of different genders. In the same interview with The Sun, Lori credited her brother's courage.

"Obviously it was a shock, but I am so proud of him. It was a huge decision, but we have overcome so much in our lives and together we are such a strong team. Nothing can break that."

George didn't speak publicly about his romantic life, but Lori spoke about it on occasion in interviews.

Lori said: "When I go on dates, George would bring along books to read and as we don't face each other, he could ignore any kissing. I don't see why being a conjoined twin should stop me having a love life and feeling like a woman."


George added: "They can do whatever they do and I'll act like I'm not even there. I would block out."

Lori was engaged at one point but four months before the wedding, was due to take place, Lori's fiancé was killed in a car crash by a drunk driver. Her heart was understandably broken, Lori saying it took her years to date again. 

The twins always had one another though. They were best friends.

Dr. Christopher Moir, a professor of surgery involving conjoined twins, said to the New York Times that when one twin died, the other would have almost certainly followed quickly.

"Conjoined twins share circulation, so unless you somehow emergently divide their connection, it's absolutely a fatal, nonviable process," he explained. 

Lori and George are survived by their father, six siblings, several nieces and nephews, and an extended family of friends. Until the day they died at age 62, Lori and George lived life to the fullest.

As Lori put it: "To me, I'm nothing special. This is not the whole life of [George] and I. This is a condition that happened through birth, and people have to learn to understand that. There is much more to [George] and I than this."

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Feature Image: AAP.

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