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Dell Toledo (full name: Wendell Toledo) is the strongman and barker of the show. He is a character in Freak Show primarily portrayed by Michael Chiklis. He is the ex-husband of Ethel Darling and Desiree Dupree and estranged father of Jimmy.


Dell was the strongman of a vaudeville troupe married to the successful Ethel Darling, a bearded lady who was madly in love with him. He eventually convinced her to let him be her manager and do solo acts instead of moving to Paris with the troupe. He convinced her that the upper class would rather see her do cultured acts than comedy vaudeville, and changed her performances to reciting Shakespeare on stage, which turned out to be a horrible failure.

At one point they were penniless and unemployed, while Ethel was carrying their unborn child. Out of desperation, Dell arranged a show and charged tickets to let people watch Ethel give birth to their son, Jimmy Darling, who was born with deformed hands. To squeeze more money out of the show, he offered to let the audience carry the "monster baby" for money, though many were too repulsed to want to. Later on, in a drunken stupor, Dell became irritated with Jimmy's crying and tried killing him as a baby, calling it an act of mercy due to his deformity. Ethel caught him and told him to leave, and he never returned for their son.

During that time, he met and married his second wife, Desiree Dupree, a woman with three breasts. They were formerly with the Giuseppe Brothers of Chicago, but had to leave when Dell killed a man that he caught sleeping with his wife.


Dell is the father of Jimmy Darling. As he is bisexual, he fell in love with Ethel as she resembles a man with her beard. When he threatened the deformed infant, Ethel ended their relationship at gunpoint. He is currently married to Desiree Dupree, as he likes her enlarged clitoris, They have been performing in Chicago but fled after Dell killed a homosexual man in a rage upon discovering him in bed with his hermaphrodite wife. Dell has joined Elsa's crew as a barker and chief of security.

He soon butts heads with his new boss when he insists that they circumvent the town's curfew by holding matinees. When he discovers the performers making a scene in a local diner, he berates them for giving them a free show. He deals with Jimmy's impertinence with a public beating. He further angers Elsa by giving her low billing on the program. Dell is also a homosexual, and has fallen in love with a male prostitute named Andy in Jupiter, Florida. Shortly after Dandy Mott kills the prostitute, leaving Dell heartbroken. Dell returns home from a night at the gay bar to discover that Desiree is all woman. Fed up with his drinking, Desiree explains that she can have operations to remove her third breast and reduce the size of her enlarged clitoris and threatens to leave him after she has them done. Later, Dell visits the same doctor and crushes the doctor's hands so he would be unable to perform the surgery.

When Dell discovers Jimmy's plan to frame him for the murder of the police detective, he arranges to turn suspicions to Meep. After successfully getting Meep arrested, Dell is pleased with his work. The inmates at the prison don't take kindly to Meep, though, and he is later thrown out of a truck, rolled up in a rug, at the entrance of the circus tent dead. Dell goes to kill Eve but he is thrown out and beaten by her. Dell and Jimmy go out for drinking where they become friends.

Dell kills Ma Petite so that Stanley can give her body to a museum. Dell helps Amazon Eve save Jimmy from prison killing two guards. However, he starts to feel guilty for killing her, and when he confesses to what he did, he is shot by Elsa Mars.

Personality and Appearance[]

While it's not immediately obvious, Dell is completely bald, with an imposing heavyset build and he wears a leotard and fake mustache when performing in shows. When he isn't, he usually wears dark colored trousers with suspenders and work shirts, almost always with a brown fedora. 

Ruthless, brutal and with an often uncontrollable temper, Dell is far from perfect. When under pressure of no income due to Ethel being unable to perform, Dell made a profitable freak act out of her giving birth to Jimmy. When drunk and angered by Jimmy's crying, he attempted to murder the baby, as in his current state in mind, he felt it would be merciful.

On the flip side, Dell does, on rare occasions, display regrets for his actions, most significantly after killing Ma Petite, attempting to kill himself before being saved by his wife. Despite his callousness towards many others, he does show to be in deep love with his current wife and treats her with a measurable amount of respect. He also admits that he could have been a better father and shows a more humorous and friendly side to him while drinking with Jimmy. And he refuses to murder him so that his secret of being bisexual wouldn’t be exposed.

He is most likely in his early to mid 50's.


  • Dell
    Dell Toledo "The Stupendous Strongman". You've probably heard of me.
  • Elsa Mars
    Maybe what this place needs is a strong male presence. Do you bark?
    Hell, I'll even howl if you like.
  • Dell (to an infant Jimmy)
    Shut up! You know what? Life's rough kid, especially for a mistake like you. I'm going to save you a lot of pain.
  • To Desiree (about Ma Petite)
    I smothered her.