The Actors who used their deformity


I know it is a horrible way to describe these three men but something in their genes went wrong. They lived the best way they could. Sometimes that is all you can do.


Robert Wadlow was a giant of a man. He stood eight feet, eleven and a half inches tall. He was born on February 22, 1918 in Alton, Ohio. His height resulted from hyperplasia of his pituitary gland. His weight was over four hundred pounds. Wadlow toured to make money. He was with Ringling Circus but his entire act was just being seen and doing small bits. He was a living advertisement for a shoe company who gave him free shoes. He joined the Masons and rose in rank. His mason ring was the biggest ever made.

Because of his size he had a brace made for his legs. This brace caused an infection which killed him at the age of twenty two. He was known as “The Gentle Giant.”


Rondo Hatton had a normal life for quite a while. He was born in 1894 and appeared normal. But then he was in World War One and in the trenches got nerve gas poisoning. This resulted in Acromegaly which deformed his bones in his head, hands and feet. The gas affected his pituitary gland causing the body to grow incorrectly. Because of his physical appearance he was picked up by Hollywood and ended up in some films, one of note, as The Creeper in a Sherlock Holmes film called the Pearl of Death. He did get married. He died from a heart attack brought on by his disease in 1946. He was 52.





The “Elephant Man” who lived in the 1870’s with Proteus Syndrome which causes skin, bones and muscles to grow too much. His name was Joseph Merrick. He was brought to the forefront by a movie with John Hurt playing the lead. He died at the age of 27 by his head falling back in sleep and snapping his spinal cord. He was in the beginning a circus side show freak who because of his intelligence courted his way up in society and met very influential people.

Three men who had their bodies changed for the worse or better by their genes. Each living as best as they could in a world that could be harsh and cruel or accepting and understanding.


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