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November 21, 2014
Marian and Vivian Brown

10 Facts About San Francisco's Favorite Twins

San Francisco was saddened yesterday to learn that Marian Brown, one half of the locally famous Brown Twins, passed away yesterday. She joined her sister, Vivian, who died last year. The twins became iconic for walking around San Francisco decked out in matching flamboyant outfits and smiles. It’s hard to find concrete evidence about the sisters’ personal lives, though. We know they moved to San Francisco from Kalamazoo, Michigan when they were in their forties and that they had a penchant for fashion. Everything else is as tough to pin down as any grandparent story. But isn’t it fitting that two local legends have legends themselves? These are the ten truths we do know, however. 

1. Vivian was older by eight minutes. Marian once said, “ I booted her out, she was a little slow.”

2. When asked if they ever wore pants, Marian said, “I have never owned a pair, I never intend to buy a pair even if they were made of silk!”

3. The twins’ favorite meal was a small combination pizza from Uncle Vito’s served at 4:30 in the afternoon.

4. They won second place in the category “Best Local Character” in the San Francisco Chronicle’s round up in 2000.

5. Richard Branson once took the sisters on a shopping spree at Harrods in London because they did such a good job in a Virgin Atlantic commercial.

6. They never married but once dated a pair of brothers named Don and Del who they met at a twins convention.

7. Had a $2,000 to $5,00 fee for interviews (SF Weekly  allegedly couldn’t afford it).

8. After Vivian’s death, Marian celebrated her first solo birthday in 85 years at a surprise party at the Sir Francis Drake hotel.

9. The twins always wore fake fur. “They call it faux fur but I call it fake. F.A.K.E!” said Marian in one interview.

10. Several local charities came together to help the Brown Twins with their expenses after Vivian fell sick, including the Jewish Family and Children’s services and a local burlesque troupe.

Photo by D.C.Atty / CC BY

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