“Dead Ringers” tells the story of two gynecologists, Beverly and Elliot Mantle, whose obsession with each other – and their patients – leads them down a destructive path. Rachel Weisz stars as both Beverly and Elliot in her TV remake, which hits Prime Video on April 21. Back in 1988, David Cronenberg directed the original “Dead Ringers,” which stars Jeremy Irons as the central identical twin doctors. That film was in turn based on a 1977 book called “Twins” by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland.
In both the TV and movie versions of “Dead Ringers,” Beverly – the quieter, more reserved twin – falls for a patient, making Elliot extremely jealous and leading her (or him, depending on which ‘Dead Ringers’ you’re watching or reading), to wreak havoc on their medical practices and lives. Eerily, all the versions of “Dead Ringers” are based on disturbing real-life events.
In 1975, identical twin doctors named Stewart and Cyril Marcus were found dead in one of their New York City apartments, per the New York Times. In the 1960s, though, the Marcus twins were extremely successful doctors. They published cutting-edge research in medical journals and eventually became assistant professors of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Hospital and co-directors at Cornell Hospital’s Infertility Clinic, per Collider. According to Esquire, Cyril was the more withdrawn one, while Stewart was more outgoing. They were also apparently together almost all of the time, sharing everything from an office to a house in the Hamptons. But by the 1970s, both were addicted to barbiturates and amphetamines.
The pair began to deteriorate around the mid-1970s, according to the New York Times, which found that the brothers had begun to miss surgeries around the time of their decline, and their behavior grew noticeably strange. Their once immaculate office became dirty, and the brothers both lost an extreme amount of weight. In July 1975, their bodies were found in Cyril’s apartment, which was apparently disastrously filthy, cluttered with trash, human waste, and empty bottles of barbiturates.
Their cause of death was difficult to decipher, as toxicology reports showed no illegal substances in either corpse. Some believed their deaths were suicides while others theorized Stewart could have died from withdrawal, but investigators found that Cyril appeared to have died several days after his brother, and his cause of death remains unclear. Their deaths inspired a media frenzy – and eventually, the book, the movie, and now the new “Dead Ringers.”