(Oslo, Norway) Meredith Snitker whose life story was told in the 1962 American documentary film The Brain That Wouldn't Die, died last week in Oslo of a severe head cold. Ms Snitker, 87, was originally from Orange City, California, but moved to Norway after the unfortunate incident which propelled her to fame.
In 1957 Ms. Snitker was decapitated in an automobile accident when she was thrown from the car in which she was riding. Her fiancé at the time, Dr. Frank Willoughby, a noted neurosurgeon was driving. Thinking quickly, Dr. Willoughby wrapped her head in a blanket and took it to his home laboratory immediately. There he was able to keep her head alive in a pan of blood - hooked to a myriad of machinery.
Distraught over the accident, and the decapitation of the woman he loved, Dr. Willoughby decided to attempt to kidnap several strippers and kill them with an eye to cutting off their heads and replacing Ms. Snitker's mangled body with the stripper's luscious body. His efforts came to naught when the incoherently moaning monster he had assembled from stolen body parts broke out of the closet in which he was held and ripped Dr. Willoughby and his assistant apart.
Wealthy from the film rights to her tragic story, Ms. Snitker, first lived in Boca Raton, Florida but quickly discovered that in the United States she had no privacy. Determined to tough it out, Ms. Snitker only left the States after Spring Break 1964 when several Colleges named her "Head" of their Spring Break. At that point she realized she would never have a private life in her home country.
Seeking refuge, she fled to Norway where, still unusual, she was accepted. A Lutheran, she attended the St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Oslo and sang in the choir until three years ago.
Though her life was tragic, Ms. Snitker refused to allow living in a pan to beat her. "Keep your head up," she always said, and she did.