Long Lost Twins Reunite After Watching ‘Three Identical Strangers’ Documentary

This summer's hit documentary about triplets separated at birth, Three Identical Strangers, was, director Tim Wardle told Newsweek in July, "the single best story" had ever come across. Little did he know the story would continue after the film's release.

Three Identical Strangers tells the story of David Kellman, Bobby Shafran and Eddy Galland, triplets separated at birth who miraculously found each other in the 1980s. At the time, it was a bizarre but heartwarming story that captured the public's attention and briefly turned the brothers into celebrities. But as Wardle's film shows, the real story was much darker. The triplets and their adoptive families were unwitting subjects in a secret study. Working with a Jewish adoption agency, Louise Wise Services, psychologist Peter Neubauer separated many pairs of twins and triplets at birth without telling the parents. The goal was to answer the age-old question: Is human disposition predestined by genetics or shaped by environment?

The film blew up, grossing over $12 million, landing at No. 26 on the list of top documentary box offices of all time. When Michele Mordkoff, a 54-year-old woman from New Jersey, saw the film, she immediately recognized the name of her adoption agency (which has since closed its doors). Mordkoff was inspired to take an online DNA test and quickly found a match with a woman named Allison Kanter living in Calabasas, California. A few quick Facebook searches confirmed what Mordkoff suspected: Kanter was her twin sister.

Journalist Lisa Belkin got wind of the story, and she contacted Wardle. When the two long lost sisters finally reunited in a hotel in New York, Wardle and his film crew were there to capture the moment. 

"I never imagined another pair would find themselves so quickly after the release of the film, or that I would know about them finding each other before they met in person," Wardle told The Atlantic in a recent interview. "I was thrilled that Three Identical Strangers could have such a positive legacy, helping to reunite twins after decades apart."

In an eight-minute short published by Atlantic Selects, Mordkoff and Kanter share a tentative but ultimately joyful reunion. "She is a stranger to me, but she’s also a part of me—I mean, we shared a womb," says Mordkoff in the video. 

"It still seems unreal to me," adds Kanter. "I wake up every day and go, 'Oh yeah, I have a twin!' How can you accept that right away?"

Watch the full video of Mordkoff and Kanter's reunion below.

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