Tamba logo - Twins and Multiple Births Association

Saving lives, supporting families

Three Identical Strangers

11th December 2018

A new documentary film has just been released about the incredible story of American triplets separated at birth.

It’s well-known that in New York in the 1960s, the now-defunct Louise Wise Services adoption agency separated orphaned twins and triplets, without the knowledge of either them or their adoptive families.

Psychoanalyst and child psychologist Dr Peter Neubauer and Dr Viola Bernard took advantage of this situation to study the difference as part of a scientific and controversial study to track the development of genetically identical siblings raised in differing circumstances.

The doctors organised tests, filmed and interviewed the children and their adoptive families for many years under the pretence of conducting an ‘adoption study’ when it was really nature versus nurture study of twins and triplets separated in infancy.

The film, which was premiered at the 2018 Sundance film festival and was released in the UK on 30th November, reveals the fascinating true story of how the triplet brothers – Eddy, David and Bobby - discovered one another in 1980 at the age of 19, and since that time sought to understand the circumstances surrounding their separation.

It turns out they had been placed with families of different economic levels, a blue-collar working-class family, middle class and upper class under this experiment, along with other sets of identical twins.

At the conclusion of the controversial and unethical study, Neubauer feared public opinion would be against it and declined to publish anything. The study is stored in Yale University Library with a release date of 2066.

Many of the multiples, like the triplets, have since met by chance, having all been raised in New York, or through journalists and filmmakers conducting research into the story.

Three Identical Strangers reveals how the brothers first became aware of each other and were stars of the media making international headlines through the 80s, even appearing in Madonna’s Desperately Seeking Susan film.

But what starts as a wonderful heart-warming reunion for the brothers takes a darker twist as it’s revealed all struggled with depression throughout their lives leading to a tragic end.

The film, directed by BAFTA-nominated British director Tim Wardle and rated 5 stars by The Times, is a fascinating, thought-provoking watch which has been tipped for an Oscar. It’s showing at cinemas in London, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Cardiff, Sheffield, Bury, Northampton, Hereford, Scotland and Ireland. We hope you will be able to catch it.

Related blogs: 

Fascinating twin and triplet facts

Parting Ways

It's a small world after all

A-Z of multiples





 

New user registration

or
height=100;