November 3, 2004 |
John Merrick was so horribly deformed by a birth defect that people recoiled from, and sometimes fled at, the sight of him. He had an exceedingly large, misshapen head and a startlingly ugly, expressionless face. There were large, smelly, cauliflowerlike growths on his head and body. His right arm was long, abnormally large in girth, and useless. Hip disease, which he developed as a child, left him lame. Repulsive and rejected, Merrick spent his youth in a workhouse in late-Victorian England, and as a young adult ended up on display in London as a sideshow freak.
June 17, 1987 |
Michael Jackson has doubled the ante in his quest to get the remains of John Merrick, offering $1 million for what's left of the famed "Elephant Man," the pop singer's manager disclosed yesterday. The London Hospital Medical College rejected Jackson's previous offer of $500,000, saying the skeleton was not for sale. Frank Dileo, Jackson's manager, said the gloved one has an "absorbing interest" in Merrick "purely based on his awareness of the ethical, medical and historical significance of the 'Elephant Man.' . . . The increase of his offer is not because he feels that money is the answer . . . but to show the seriousness of his intent and his guarantees to assume responsibility of Mr. Merrick's remains.
May 29, 1987 |
Two medical teams yesterday reported independently locating the gene that causes the disfiguring Elephant Man's disease, and doctors said they soon should have a way of detecting the disorder before birth. The findings, by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, "could lead to a medical treatment or possibly a cure for this disease," said Dr. Allan Rubenstein, medical director of the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation.
April 24, 2002 |
John Hurt still dines out on his tales of what he endured to play the doomed and hideously misshapen protagonist in David Lynch's 1980 film of The Elephant Man. Long before the sun rose on each day of shooting, Hurt would spend six hours in the makeup man's chair so that the grotesquely deformed prosthesis could be fitted over his head piece by piece. Anyone who remembers this prodigious feat of movie magic will be pleasantly startled by Billy Crudup, who takes the role of the doomed John Merrick in the revival of The Elephant Man and disdains any cosmetic assistance.
October 28, 1993 |
In Japan, businessmen bought hand-carved ivory seals and in Africa the elephants fell. Iain Douglas-Hamilton didn't know much about the demand side of the ivory trade, but he knew the supply side as well as anyone. And for Douglas-Hamilton, the trade all came down to this: the stench of rotting elephant flesh. "It's a sickly, sweet smell," said Douglas-Hamilton, a pivotal figure in the fight to ban the international ivory trade. "If you get close to a carcass, the odor hits you like a brick wall.
August 14, 1990 |
A PAIN IN THE NECK Roller-coaster aficionados, beware: All those quick turns at high speeds can be rough on your neck, a Los Angeles chiropractor says. To test whether your neck is flexible enough, see if you can painlessly and freely place your chin on your chest bone, look at the ceiling directly above your head without leaning backward, rotate your head to touch your chin to your shoulders, and tilt your head to touch your ear to a slightly shrugged shoulder, says Leonard Faye.
May 7, 2002 |
Thoroughly Modern Millie, the frothy, movie-inspired musical about a flapper in New York in the Roaring Twenties, claimed 11 nominations yesterday in a race for the Tony Awards next month that will feature something conspicuously absent from last year's show: genuine competition. Instead of a coronation of Max Bialystock, the conniving impresario in Mel Brooks' megahit The Producers, which swept a record 12 Tonys, there promises to be a spirited contest this time. Vying with Millie for best musical will be the bold and edgy Urinetown the Musical, the crowd-pleasing Mamma Mia!
December 8, 1994 |
John Merrick was a cruel accident of nature. Among his birth deformities were an exceedingly large and misshapen head and ugly, smelly, cauliflowerlike growths on his head and body. His right arm was long and useless, as was the misshapen right hand. Hip disease, which he developed as a child, left him lame. Born poor and reared in a workhouse in Victorian England, Merrick was displaying himself in carnival side shows as the Elephant Man when, in 1884, he came to the attention of Frederick Treves, a physician at the London Hospital.
February 22, 1988 |
Have you ever wished that a distant relative lived way far away, beyond any public notice - say, on a sheep farm in Patagonia? Queen Elizabeth might have. Burke's Peerage, that definitively distinguished directory of British blueblood births, has discovered that Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, who has been linked by some to Nazi war crimes, is also linked to the British royal family. Harold Brooks-Baker, editor of Burke's, said Waldheim is related to the former royal family of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Hapsburgs.
April 13, 2001 |
60 MINUTES w/Mel Brooks, 7 p.m. Sunday, Channel 3. Mel Brooks is one of the funniest and fastest true ad-libbers on the face of the earth - and one of the all-time great television interviews - but he's simply too complicated a guy for a 13-minute newsmagazine segment. That truth is all too apparent in Sunday's "60 Minutes" piece on Brooks, which is pegged to next Thursday's Broadway opening of his new musical, "The Producers. " To be sure, producer Jay Kernis and correspondent Mike Wallace have come up with an entertaining piece.