I am reading a book set in the 1930s and 40s and it makes mention of the Dionne Quintuplets who were quite a hit in those days, so I wondered whatever happened to them?
The Dionne Quintuplets were born on May 28, 1934 in Corbeil, Ontario, Canada. They were the first quintuplets to survive infancy and are the only known identical quintuplets. The babies were born premature and the family consisted of five previous children as well. The parents were not well off and no one expected the girls to survive. The Ontario government stepped in and took custody of the girls. The government claimed that this would avoid exploitation, but the government soon found it could make millions from the girls. They were housed in a private nursery and cared for by nurses. visitors came twice a day to watch the girls play. Almost three million people came to view the girls from 1936 to 1943.
In 1943, the girls mother won custody of the girls and the whole family moved into a big mansion. Later the girls would claim sexual abuse by their father, and being treated unfairly with more chores and less privileges as the other children. Instead of being treated as individuals, the girls were often treated as one and dressed the same.
Two of the five are still living, Annette and Cecile (both married). Emilie died in 1954 as a result of suffocation. She was prone to seizures and had a seizure while her face was on a pillow. Unable to move her head, she suffocated. She was a postulant as a convent and the nun who was supposedly watching her had stepped away. Marie died in 1970 from a blood clot to her brain and Yvonne died in 2001 from cancer.
The girls wrote two books, We Were Five and Family Secrets, both out of print. In 1998, the Annette, Cecile and Yvonne accepted a deal from the Ontario government for $3 million for compensation for being exploited as children.