In an average issue of PEOPLE, roughly half of the stories are about celebrities. The other half are about ordinary people with extraordinary stories to tell. Those stories may be moving, amusing, controversial or unclassifiably weird; over the years, we've profiled everyone from bounty hunters and Lee Iacocca's barber to a hijack survivor, surrogate mothers, local heroes, the world's smartest woman and a man who built a 110,000-toothpick replica of the Eiffel Tower. Although the subjects are not performers, the resulting photographs are often dramatic.
Stan Rivkin, a not-to-be-trifled-with bounty hunter, got a grip on his Doberman, Duke (1977). Some attendees at the 44th Annual Convention of the International Twins Association dressed alike just for the event, but Sisters Mary Aline (above, left) and Evelyne Dwyer had been in the habit for years (1978).
Mt. Rushmore cleaner Bob Crisman prayed that George Washington wouldn't sneeze (1982).
Janice Herbranson, whose $6,300 salary made her the lowest-paid public schoolteacher in America, counseled her entire kindergarten—student Jodi Sag vold—in McLeod, N. Dak. (1984).
Caught in the crossfire in Nicaragua, 4-year-old Yalitza Galeano, her shinbone shattered by a bullet, awaited treatment at a local hospital, where even antiseptics were in short supply (1988).
Chinese female impersonator Shi Peipu starred in the bizarre real-life love affair-espionage scandal that inspired the Broadway hit M. Butterfly (1988).
Oregon-based mountain rescue expert Dr. Cameron Bangs, who had saved 75 lives in nine years, demonstrated the art of lifting an injured climber from an icy crevasse (1977).
Colorful Key West barkeep Capt. Tony Tarracino, former gunrunner, gambler, adulterer and father of 13 by five women, has run for mayor three times and lost, both barefoot and with shoes on (1986).
Two months after her fall into a backyard well riveted a nation, Jessica McClure of Midland, Texas, looked like just another kid with a scratch, a cat and a grin (1988).
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