split image of Melvin Boothe

In 2009, Melvin Feizel Boothe (USA) was confirmed to have the longest fingernails on a pair of hands ever (male).

Melvin's nails had a combined length of 9.85 m (32 ft 3.8 in), with his single longest nail (his left thumbnail) measuring 114.3 cm (45 in).

Melvin lived in the city of Pontiac, Michigan, and served in the U.S. Army before retiring from Pontiac General Hospital after 27 years of service.

He started growing his nails in the 1970s and was aged 61 when he was awarded his Guinness World Records title.

Sadly, in December of the same year, Melvin passed away.

Melvin Boothe holding nails out

Melvin said he started to grow his nails as a hobby: “I just got into growing the nails and going to work, and it gave me something to do as I got into it. You know, like people have a hobby, and that’s how I basically started.

“Once I found out how to deal with a crack or a break […] that was my start,” he continued.

Melvin was handed his Guinness World Records certificate in person by fellow record-holder Lee Redmond (USA), who held the longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female) record at the time.

Lee visited Melvin at his home, where they exchanged nail-care tips and tricks before posing together for a photoshoot.


Longest fingernails on a pair of hands ever (male): 32 ft 3.8 in (9.85 m) combined length by Melvin Boothe 🇺🇸 #nails

♬ original sound - Guinness World Records

"Finally. Finally, I see somebody who’s just like me," Melvin said when first meeting Lee.

Melvin shared how he learnt to navigate his daily life without damaging his nails, to which Lee replied, “that’s me – I still cook and clean, and I live normal.”

After receiving his certificate and learning that he would feature in the 2010 edition of our book, Melvin said: “As of this point, I feel good for what I’ve accomplished, but the mission isn’t over. You know, it’s no vacation with these.

“It feels great to be in the Guinness Book of Records [sic], because there’s very few that can make it.”

Melvin Boothe at home

“What’s amazing was that we hadn’t discovered him for so long. Where had he been, with these long fingernails?” said Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief.

“It was interesting, I guess, for them to share nail-care tips. Lee took a lot of care of her nails, where I think Melvin maybe didn’t quite so much, so I think he learnt a bit from her about that as well.” – Craig Glenday

Melvin unfortunately passed away just seven months after having his record confirmed. He was survived by nine children, 46 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

“Melvin was immortalized in one of our greatest photoshoots I think we’ve ever done,” said Craig. “It’s a stunning, stunning photograph, and I’m glad we were able to get them together.”

Melvin Boothe and Lee Redmond

This wasn’t just Melvin’s last ever photoshoot; it was also Lee’s - her nails were sadly broken soon after in a car crash.

"I have very, very fond memories of Melvin. He touched my life… he’s my brother," Lee said of Melvin following his death.

Melvin remains the only male to have ever held the record for the longest fingernails on a pair of hands. However, the record for the longest fingernails on a single hand belongs to an Indian man named Shridhar Chillal, who only grew his left-hand nails.

Remarkably, they reached a combined length of 909.6 cm (29 ft 10 in), which is almost as long as the combined nail length of both of Melvin’s hands!

After 66 years of growth, in 2018, Shridhar decided to cut his nails off – you can watch it happen in the video below. His nails are now on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Times Square, New York City.

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