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Vivian Brown: 6 Facts About San Francisco’s Beloved Twin Sisters

Even in a city known for exotic characters, San Francisco’s Vivian and Marian Brown stood out more than most.

The petite identical twins, natives of Kalamazoo, Mich., arrived in San Francisco together in 1970. They quickly became local icons of eccentricity, thanks not only to their vivacious personalities but also their habit of going everywhere together in elaborate identical outfits – red dresses, cowboy boots and and faux-leopard-skin hats, for example. (“We tried dressing differently for six months,” Marian once explained to an interviewer. “We didn’t like that at all.”)

The Brown sisters were cast in cameo roles in films, appeared in ads and commercials and graced civic events with their presence. They were frequently approached by tourists who wanted to take their picture, and by various reports, always cheerfully agreed. As the San Francisco Chronicle¬†once explained, “These two ladies with their elegantly arched brows, full-blown coifs and tiny, tailored suits, embody a spirit that makes the city so distinctive.”

Sadly, San Francisco’s sister act is no more. But Vivian Brown, who passed away on Jan. 9 at age 85 in San Francisco, will be fondly remembered for helping her adopted city to be just a bit more flamboyant. Here are some intriguing facts about Vivian and her surviving sister Marian.

From YouTube, here’s a short video of the Brown sisters, shot by a visitor to the city, who wrote in the caption that “they are awesome. I hope age gives me their spunk.”