Two actors who were hunchbacks in the world of the movies
Quasimodo is the bell-ringer of Notre Dame and a barely verbal and half-blind hunchback. Ringing the church bells has made him deaf. Abandoned by his mother as a baby, he was adopted by Claude Frollo. Quasimodo’s life within the confines of the cathedral and his only two outlets — ringing the bells and his love and devotion for Frollo — are described. He ventures outside the Cathedral rarely, since people despise and shun him for his appearance. The notable occasions when he does leave are his taking part in the Festival of Fools — during which he is elected the Pope of Fools due to his perfect hideousness — and his subsequent attempt to kidnap Esmeralda, his rescue of Esmeralda from the gallows, his attempt to bring Phoebus to Esmeralda, and his final abandonment of the cathedral at the end of the novel. It is revealed in the story that the baby Quasimodo was left by the Gypsies in place of Esmeralda, whom they abducted.
Those bulging egg eyes helped make Marty Feldman a comedy megastar but he was always quite deadpan about his looks. After being cast in Gene Wilder’s award-winning 1974 film Young Frankenstein, Feldman said: “I am the only guy ever to appear in a horror film without make-up.”
The “freaky” appearance, as he described his face, belied an intelligent, inquisitive mind and a nature drawn to, and inspiring of, mayhem. The most enjoyable sections in Robert Ross’s fine 2011 biography of the actor are about the days before Feldman made it as a Hollywood star.