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Helen Morlok, 73; One of the World's Oldest Identical Quadruplets

November 07, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Helen Morlok, 73, one of four sisters listed as the world's oldest identical quadruplets, died Oct. 31 in Lansing, Mich. The cause of death was not reported.

Helen, Edna, Sarah and Wilma were born May 19, 1930, to Sadie and Carl Morlok. It was the first pregnancy for the 31-year-old nurse and the 41-year-old unemployed factory worker.

The novelty led to a brief career in show business. Helen and her sisters tap-danced, sang and performed comedy skits in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio. What little money they earned helped pay for music lessons and an endless stream of four identical costumes.

They were listed several times in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest identical quadruplets, and their birth was called a medical miracle. At that time, the odds of having quadruplets were one in 500,000.

The four were born at -- and named in honor of -- Edward W. Sparrow Hospital: Edna (E. for Edward), Wilma (W. for W.), Sarah (S for Sparrow), and Helen (H. for Hospital). Their middle initials are A, B, C and D.

Wilma Morlok died in January 2002.

Edna told the Lansing State Journal that Helen had a beautiful alto singing voice. She also said that Helen developed a nervous condition later in life and rarely went out in public.

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