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What Was the Rare Condition Michael Berryman Had?

Michael Berryman’s rise to fame started with roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Hills Have Eyes. Since then, he’s appeared in several other films and television series. But did you ever wonder about his unique facial structure and what may have caused it? 

Michael Berryman is known for his iconic roles in horror films due to his condition called hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. It is a rare condition where the person doesn’t have sweat glands, hair, or fingernails.

Who is Michael Berryman?

Michael John Berryman was born on September 4, 1948, in LA. Berryman was the son of Sloan, a famous neurosurgeon, and Barbara, a registered nurse. As a child, Berryman went through extensive cranial reconstruction due to his rare condition called hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia.

He was often bullied because of this, making him look different. But fortunately, Berryman was unaffected and grounded. While working as a florist, big-time Hollywood producer, George Pal noticed his unusual physical appearance while shopping in the shop. Pal convinced Berryman to appear in the 1975 movie Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze as a coroner.

His fame started when he portrayed Ellis in the 1975 movie adaptation of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest written by Ken Keyseys. Berryman’s breakthrough role was as Pluto in the 1977 horror film The Hills Have Eyes, directed by Wes Craven. He also took part in the 1981 horror movie Deadly Blessing, portraying the character William Gluntz.

Berryman took on several films like Invitation to Hell, Weird Science, My Science Project, and The Hills Have Eyes Part II. The unique actor also appeared in the music videos of the songs Smokin’ in the Boys Room and Home Sweet Home performed by Mötley Crüe.

He also played roles in television series like Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Files, Highway to Heaven: The Devil and Jonathan Smith, and I Was a Middle-Aged Werewolf. Berryman continued his acting career, acting in many horror films that gave him roles due to his unique appearance. Berryman was awarded the EyeGore Award for Career Contribution in the Horror Genre in 2007. (Source: The Famous People)

What is Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia?

Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia (HED) is a rare multisystem disorder usually inherited by the individual. HED belongs to the group of diseases known generally as ectodermal dysplasias, which typically affect the hair, teeth, nails, sweat glands, and skin of those infected.

HED is usually characterized by a partial or complete absence of sweat glands which causes diminished sweating. This, in turn, causes heat intolerance and abnormally sparse hair. Individuals with this condition also suffer from malformed teeth and facial abnormalities like a prominent forehead, sunken nasal bridge, thick lips, and a prominent chin.

Individuals who have HED also have abnormally thin and dry hair that usually lacks pigmentation. Most also suffer underdeveloped mucous glands in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, leading to severe medical conditions when they are not mindful of their health.

People with HED also suffer from decreased function of certain parts of their immune systems, becoming more susceptible to allergies and respiratory conditions, scaling and itchy skin rashes, and atrophic rhinitis. HED usually affects males and is a rare condition that only occurs in approximately 1 in 5,000 to 10,000 newborns. (Source: Rare Diseases)

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