The glitz, the glamour, the Botoxed brows, the ballooning bra sizes … Hollywood award season is upon us again, folks. With the eyes of the tabloid-magazine-reading, TV-watching public fixed on various red carpets throughout February and March, it’s not just “what they wore” — designer gowns, questionable coifs and bling that cost more than the gross national product of a small country — that’s under intense scrutiny. It’s the medically corrected, tweaked and enhanced faces and bodies underneath all of that “best” or “worst” celebrity finery.
While there are a few celebrities whose physical appearances have been altered in an abrupt and drastic manner under the plastic surgeon’s knife, most instances of celebrity nipping and tucking are more subtle and difficult to catch. And then there are individuals, celebrity and not, who take cosmetic surgery to a whole other level. Whether they’re transforming themselves to resemble a jungle cat — or a late wife — or submitting to 10 procedures in one day, below are seven mostly admitted plastic surgery recipients with infamously altered faces.
Jocelyn Wildenstein (AKA, “Cat Woman,” the “Lion Queen,” the “Bride of Wildenstein”)
Jocelyn Wildenstein, a Swiss-born New York City socialite in her mid-60s or early 70s (reports vary), boasts a shocking catlike visage that’s the stuff of nightmarish legend. But according to top plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn’s website Celebrity Cosmetic Surgery, the story behind Wildenstein’s multimillion-dollar plastic surgery habit (as reported in the 2008 by The Daily Mail) is a somewhat sad one. Reportedly, Wildenstein’s marriage to the late art collector and businessman Alec Wildenstein was unhappy. To keep the marriage afloat and to keep her husband’s wandering eye fixed on her and her only, Wildenstein took drastic measures. Realizing that one of the things that gave her husband great pleasure were the large jungle cats kept in his private reserve in Africa, Wildenstein set out to look like just that: a large jungle cat. And as the story goes, well … he still left her.
Youn believes that Wildenstein has had numerous procedures including a brow lift, fat grafting, lip plumping injections, at least one facelift and canthopexy to give her that trademark feline appearance. Youn notes that when done correctly and on the right patient, these surgeries can result in “a very natural, youthful” appearance. Looks like Wildenstein’s plastic surgeon missed the memo on that.
Dennis Avner (AKA “Stalking Cat,” the “Cat Man of Whidbey Island”)
Although we’re not entirely sure if Cat Woman’s back story (it’s almost too soap opera-ish to be true) is real, we do know this: If Wildenstein really does want to transform her face into that of a cat, she should be taking some pointers from Dennis Avner. According to an article in the Seattle Times, Avner — he prefers to go by his Native American name, “Stalking Cat” — is a Michigan native and former Navy sonar technician who in 2005 happily shared a home with friends on Whidbey Island, Wash. Sounds pretty boring, right? Not quite … Avner has undergone numerous body-modifying procedures since 1980 to become more like his totem animal, the tiger. They include nose and brow implants, several silicone injections, a lip-splitting surgery, a procedure to give him pointy ears and a whole lot of tattoos. Stalking Cat has also had all of his teeth removed and replaced with fanged dentures and has 18 piercings above his lip that he can attach whiskers to.
According to the Seattle Times, the next steps in Stalking Cat’s much-documented tiger transformation included more tiger stripe body tattoos and having stainless steel mounts implanted on his head so that he can attach cat ears to them. Although Avner seemed to be living a peaceful existence on Whidbey Island — “the people here have been pretty welcoming,” he told the Times — apparently he’s since relocated to Nevada. You just can’t keep a good jungle cat down.
Amanda Lepore is a New York-based model, actress, girl-about-town, recording artist behind songs such as “My Hair Looks Fierce,” muse of David LaChapelle and perhaps the world’s most recognizable transsexual. To achieve her jaw-dropping Jessica Rabbit-esque look, Lepore has undergone numerous procedures including breast augmentations, and has had liquid silicone injected into her forehead, buttocks, hips and most famously, lips. The undisputed “it” (or what is it?) girl of New York’s downtown nightlife scene was also the subject of a limited edition Swatch, designed by LaChapelle.
And even for the perpetually pouty and party-ready Lepore, life isn’t all about appearances in Elton John music videos and lip enlargement surgeries: In March 2010, Lepore was spotted serving jury duty at Manhattan civil court.
Scott Thompson (aka Carrot Top)
Once upon a time, the flame-haired funnyman known as Carrot Top was mostly famous for being annoying. However, in recent years Carrot Top’s self-deprecating brand of humor has become less painful and, well, the man himself has become more painful to look at.
Although speculation around Carrot Top’s rampant plastic surgery habit — Botox injections and brow lifts are suspected procedures — and steroid use continue to swirl, he has not confirmed or denied what exactly is responsible for his ever-evolving face and body. Whatever the case, the 46-year-old prop comic still tours, makes frequent talk show appearances and peels off his shirt to reveal a freakishly buff bod whenever he has the chance.
Although Pete Burns’ musical career may have reached its peak in 1985 with the release of Dead or Alive’s smash hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” Burns has been very alive and kicking since then, never really fading from the limelight for too long, especially in the U.K., where he’s appeared on “Celebrity Big Brother,” “Celebrity Wife Swap” and his very own reality show called “Pete’s PA.” While the always-candid Burns can certainly thank his flamboyant personality for his longstanding British pop-culture icon status, the 51-year-old singer’s ever-evolving looks play a huge part in his longevity. Over a two-decade span, Burns has had several rhinoplasties, cheek implants and lip enlargements.
Burns’ numerous nips and tucks haven’t all come off without a hitch, however. In 2006, Burns appeared in the documentary “Pete Burns’ Cosmetic Surgery Nightmares,” sharing the story of how a botched lip surgery brought him to financial ruin … and nearly killed him. Says Burns of his many cosmetic enhancements in a 2010 ABC News special: “I see it as an art form. I see myself as my own clay, and I was remodeling it.”
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
Sometimes people will do strange things for love. But strange doesn’t even begin to describe the love story of acclaimed British industrial musician and performance artist Genesis P-Orridge (born Neil Megson in 1950) and his late wife, Jacqueline Breyer, otherwise known as Lady Jaye. To mark their 10-year anniversary, the couple embarked on a journey to literally become each other through a series of cosmetic surgeries. It all began on Valentine’s Day 2003 when P-Orridge and Lady Jaye received matching breast implants. Next came nose and cheek jobs, liposuction, cheek and chin implants and other procedures that helped the couple reach twin-dom.
A devastating setback to the project, called “Pandrogeny,” came in 2007 when Lady Jaye died at the age of 38 from complications resulting from a long-term battle with stomach cancer. Still, despite the loss of his other half, P-Orridge continues on with the project, transforming himself into his late wife through cosmetic surgery and body modification. Explained P-Orridge to New York Magazine in a 2009 profile: “We could have bought a house or something like that. But we’re artists. Artists do art. It’s not rational.”
Although Heidi Montag isn’t what most would consider as extreme looking as the other supposed and admitted plastic surgery recipients on this list, the manner in which the 24-year-old MTV personality and wife of mini-sociopath Spencer Pratt had her surgeries performed could be considered extreme. After going under the knife for rhinoplasty and breast augmentation in 2007, Montag revealed to People in January 2010 that in November 2009, she had received a total of 10 cosmetic procedures including second nose and breast jobs, neck liposuction, buttocks augmentation, a mini-brow lift and a chin reduction performed in one day by Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan. In the same interview with People, Montag claimed that she almost died during the marathon body modifying session after the pain-killer Demerol “drastically” slowed her breathing. Ryan defended his choice to perform so many operations in one day, saying that “These are little tweaks and things we did. … These were all kind of small things.”
In a December 2010 edition of Life and Style, Montag further opened up about her surgeries, saying: “Surgery ruined my career and my personal life and just brought a lot of negativity into my world. I wish I could jump into a time machine and take it all back. Instead, I'm always going to feel like Edward Scissorhands.”