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  • Ringo Starr became known as the funny Beatle.
  • Ringo Starr shared the way comments about his appearance impacted him.
  • People sent Ringo Starr death threats because of his appearance.
Ringo Starr sits with a cigarette in his mouth and holds a lighter.
Ringo Starr | Michael Putland/Getty Images

The Beatles became some of the most famous people in the world in the early 1960s. They had hoards of fans and constantly made public appearances. Though they received adoration, they also were the subjects of much public scrutiny. Ringo Starr became the target of many comments about his appearance. He said that he considered plastic surgery because of them.

The Beatles had different roles from the public

After forming in 1960, The Beatles began to see the early stages of Beatlemania in 1963. That year, stores stocked Beatles dolls, wigs, and other branded items. Fans gave each member of the band different monikers: John Lennon was the smart Beatle, Paul McCartney was the cute Beatle, George Harrison was the quiet Beatle, and Starr was the funny Beatle. 

Their manager, Brian Epstein, worked to emphasize their good qualities.

“In all our handouts and in all our press dealings, Brian only stressed what was good about them. He never created any nonexistent good points,” publicist Tony Barrow said, per the book Ringo: With a Little Help by Michael Seth Starr. “The Beatles were four lads from down the street, the sort you might have seen at the local church hall. This was the essence of their personal communication with the public. This was the appeal. People identified with them from the beginning. Brian realized this and never tried to hide it.”

Ringo Starr said he considered plastic surgery because people made fun of his appearance 

Though fans idolized the group, The Beatles were not immune to criticism. Starr, in particular, began to receive comments about the size of his nose. While the teen magazine Boyfriend wrote that his nose was “a sign of distinction, one of the things that makes him attractive,” not everyone was as kind. A reporter even asked him if he’d ever considered plastic surgery.

Starr tended to be easygoing about these sorts of comments. 

“I’ve come to terms with my own nose,” he said. “It’s the talking point when people discuss me. I have a laugh, and it goes up one nostril and out the other.”

Still, he said he’d considered getting plastic surgery because he was tired of hearing people discuss his nose. 

“You know, I went through a stage of thinking seriously about having plastic surgery on my nose because that was all the papers seemed to write about,” he said. “I never noticed ‘my feature’ until the press pointed it out. It didn’t hurt me, but I get fed up reading about it.”

Ringo Starr once received death threats because of his appearance

Starr brushed off many of the comments about his nose, but he was once the target of death threats because of his appearance. This terrified him.

“We went to Key West from French Canada, where we’d thought Ringo was going to get shot,” Harrison said in The Beatles Anthology. “A Montreal newspaper reported that somebody was going to kill Ringo. Because they didn’t like his nose or something? Because he was probably the most British of The Beatles? I don’t know. Anyway, we decided, ‘F*** this, let’s get out of town,’ and we flew a day early, instead of staying the night in Montreal.”

A black and white picture of Ringo Starr holding fake eyeballs next to his face.
Ringo Starr | Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images

Ringo Starr Said He Was Angry for 20 Years After The Beatles Broke Up

The group, relying on stereotypes, believed Starr was Jewish and threatened to kill him for it. The Beatles still played the concert, and Starr was convinced he was going to die.

“I had the cymbals up towards the audience to give me a bit of protection; usually I had them flat on,” Starr said. “I also had a plain-clothes policeman sitting there with me. But I started to get hysterical, because I thought, ‘If someone in the audience has a pop at me, what is this guy going to do? Is he going to catch the bullet?’ I found this was getting funnier and funnier all the time, and the guy just sat there.”