Marian Brown, the younger half of a pair of identical twins who became San Francisco goodwill ambassadors, has died at age 87.
Marian Brown and her sister, Vivian -- who died early last year -- were known for roaming the streets in matching outfits, turning the heads of tourists and residents alike.
Mayor Ed Lee, who said the city was "heartbroken" when Vivian Brown died in January 2013, repeated that sentiment upon news of Marian's death on Thursday:
“San Francisco is heartbroken by the passing of Marian Brown who was a true friend of our City. Marian and her identical twin sister Vivian who passed away early last year could often be spotted together, delighting San Francisco neighborhoods with their visits that brought smiles to residents and visitors alike. Together, they were remarkable women who represented the best of our City. Our thoughts and prayers are with their friends at this time of mourning.”
The San Francisco Chronicle's Sam Whiting offered a glimpse of the twins' last years in December 2012: S.F.'s iconic Brown twins face life apart. The piece, published two weeks before Vivian Brown died of Alzheimer's disease, is a portrait of both decline and determination. It's accompanied by excellent photography by the Chron's Mike Kepka.
Marian talked to the Chronicle about some of the financial challenges the sisters faced and one of their final wishes:
The sisters, each 5-foot-1 and a shade under 100 pounds, liked to walk the city together in matching outfits. They were featured in 25 television advertisements over the years, for companies including The Chronicle, Reebok, IBM, Virgin Atlantic Airlines and Dell Computer.
But the regular advertising income dried up in recent years, leaving Marian Brown dependent on Social Security while her sister was in the hospital.
Marian said she wanted to protect her savings so the two could be buried next to one another.
"People know us as the San Francisco twins," she said in August, "and we want to finish up our lives here in San Francisco."