Trivia, fun facts and more for the 1980 Drama
movie starring Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt
, Anne Bancroft et al.
Although he was called The Elephant Man, John Merrick did not suffer from Elephantitas. Merrick actually had a rare disease called Proteus Syndrome, which causes overgrowth of bone and other tissue, and has been recorded in fewer than 100 cases, ever.
The Elephant Man's name was Joseph Merrick, not John Merrick. When Frederick Treves wrote his memoir he refered to him as John. His handwritten manuscript reveals that Treves knew that Merricks name was Joseph, and deliberately crossed out "Joseph" and replaced it with "John". Merricks surviving correspondence show he signed his name as Joseph and contemporary newspaper articles about his case refer to him by his correct name. Why Treves changed it is unclear.
In real life, John (Joseph) Merrick often quoted this poem he wrote: "Tis true my form is something odd, but blaming me is blaming God; Could I create myself anew, I would not fail in pleasing you. If I could reach from pole to pole or grasp the ocean with a span, I would be measured by the soul; the mind's the measure of the man."
Contributed by: Alain Lamothe
In real life John Merrick wasn't beaten at all. He was a mountain of gold for his owners so they wouldn't have taken the risk of maltreating him. On the contrary, he was well treated.
The Elephant Man was shockingly not even nominated for Best Makeup, the reason why? Because the oscars didn' have a best makeup category then. However, because of the Elephant Man, the following year the Academy Awards decided to have a Best Makeup category which is still in the awards ceremony today.
It was once rumored that Michael Jackson
wanted to buy the real Elephant Man's Bones.
Contributed by: Kara Cohen
played the role of Joseph Merrick on Broadway. However, he did not wear any make-up. The Elephant Man's deformities were conveyed to the audience by twisting his body and dragging his foot.
As told on the Discovery Channel documentary, the real-Life Joseph Merrick was a "hawker" in his teen-age years. A "hawker" being defined as the near equivalent of a door-to-door salesman.
Contributed by: gemma_ashcroft
The elephant man also had neurofibromatosis.
Contributed by: Patrick Fogerty
Anne Bancroft, who stars in the film, is married to it's producer, Mel Brooks.
Contributed by: LoverswithCassie
Scriptwriters Christopher De Vore and Eric Bergen turn up uncredited as a pair of Lyre Box Players.