Nip and Tuck

In May 1934, desperate to escape the authorities, John Dillinger engaged two underworld plastic surgeons, Wilhelm Loeser and Harold Cassidy, to change his appearance.

[T]he two doctors removed the moles between the eyes — Loeser working on one side, Cassidy on the other. Then they cut the cheek along the ear and the edge of the jaw and transplanted some of the flesh to the dimple on the chin. Finally they tightened up the cheeks with kangaroo tendons.

Five days later the doctors returned to remove Dillinger’s fingerprints, using a combination of nitric and hydrochloric acid. The gangster told them he was unhappy with their facial work — he thought that apart from being “messed up,” his appearance hadn’t changed. Dillinger’s attorney, Louis Piquett, convinced him that the job had been a success, but “secretly he thought his client looked as if he’d been in a dog fight.”

It scarcely mattered — he was gunned down outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater two months later.

(From John Toland, The Dillinger Days, 1995.)