Betty with Phroso (Wallace Ford) in Freaks, 1932 Betty Green in 'Freaks'. Behind her is Jerry Austin, dwarf actor. Elizabeth "Betty" Green's background is obscure. According to Tod Browning, director of Freaks, Betty Green was "a Jewish girl from Springfield, Massachussetts who owned five apartment houses." Other claim she was simply a movie fan who appeared in Freaks with the hope of getting actor Ronald Colman's autograph. One thing is certain, though - despite what many of her contemporaries claimed, Betty wasn't just an unfortunate-looking woman. Her appearance suggests that she suffered from some genetic condition and most accounts indicate that she was at least mildly mentally deficient. It seems she had quite a sense of humor about her condition, however, and was perfectly willing to don a feathery bodysuit, big fake bird feet and a gigantic plume on her head and dance around like a bird in front of spectators.

When Betty was cast in Freaks, she had to share billing with another Bird Girl, newcomer Minnie Woolsey. It's unknown what Betty thought of the competition, but to this day the "Koo Koo, the Bird Girl" title is mostly associated with Minnie, while Betty is remembered as "The Stork Woman" or, more enigmatically, "Molina, the Pinhead". It seems that these names were used only for the movie, however, and when filming ended, Betty went right back to being Koo Koo.

Promotional pitch card for Betty Green. From 'Freak Show' by The Residents

Updated 3.17.06.