Facts of Elephant Man

  • Birth Date : August 5, 1962
  • Birth Place : Leicester, England
  • Death Date : April 11, 1980
  • Gender : Male
  • Marital Status : Single
  • Eye Color : Light Brown Eyes


Joseph Merrick, also known as the Elephant Man, was a disfigured man who, after a brief career as a professional “freak,” became a patient at London Hospital from 1886 until his death.

Elephant Man: Family Life

Joseph Carey Merrick was born on August 5, 1862, in Leicester, England. However, by the age of five, he had developed lumpy, grayish skin, which his parents attributed to his mother being startled by a stampeding elephant while pregnant. Merrick’s deformities worsened as he grew older until his head and body were riddled in bony and fleshy tumors. Despite his disabilities, Merrick had a very average upbringing and went to the local school.

Merrick’s mother died of bronchial pneumonia when he was 11 years old, in 1873. Merrick later referred to her death as the “greatest sadness of my life.” Merrick dropped out of school to look for work after his father remarried their landlady less than a year later. He finally found a job rolling cigars in a factory.

However, his right hand had become so deformed that he could no longer do the job and was forced to resign after just two years. His aunt, who ran a haberdashery, got him a peddler’s license and sent him out on the streets to sell the goods from his store.

Journey of Life

In 1884, he decided to try to profit from his deformities and escape life in the workhouse. Merrick wanted to try to benefit from his deformities in order to avoid the workhouse in 1884. He contacted Sam Torr, the owner of the Gaiety Palace of Varieties in Leicester, and the two devised a scheme to get him a place in a human oddities show. Merrick was performing as “The Elephant Man, Half-Man, Half-Elephant” in Leicester and Nottingham to great acclaim.

The Elephant Man exhibit in London was located across the street from the London Hospital and was often visited by medical students and doctors who were curious about Merrick’s condition.

Merrick was subsequently invited to the hospital to be examined by a surgeon called Frederick Treves. Treves’ review revealed that Merrick’s deformities had progressed to the point of being severe. His right hand was 12 inches at the wrist and his head was 36 inches in diameter.

Tumors engulfed his body, and his legs and hips were so deformed that he needed a cane to walk. He was otherwise considered to be in good health. In December of that year, Treves introduced Merrick to the Pathological Society of London and invited Merrick to visit the hospital for further study. Merrick, on the other hand, declined, later remembering how he felt like “an animal in a cattle market” as a result of the encounter.

By 1885, Britain had developed a dislike for freak shows, so Merrick and his managers wanted to try to relocate The Elephant Man exhibit to Belgium. Merrick’s boss there finally deprived him of his life savings and deserted him after the show was only mediocrely successful.

Merrick was mobbed by a crowd at Liverpool Street Station in London and taken into custody by the police after securing passage on a ship back to England in June 1886. They eventually found Frederick Treves’ business card on Merrick and took him to the London Hospital, unable to understand him.

When Carr Gromm, the chairman of the London Hospital, was unable to locate another hospital to care for Merrick, he wanted to publish a letter in The Times explaining Merrick’s situation and requesting assistance. Gromm’s letter sparked a national outpouring of sympathy and enough financial contributions to give Merrick a home for the rest of his life.


Despite his newfound support system, Merrick’s health deteriorated during his stay at the London Hospital. Merrick was found dead on his bed, flat on his back, on April 11, 1890. He had spent his entire life sleeping sitting up, with his head leaning against his hands, due to the size of his head.

Merrick was originally believed to have died of asphyxiation after his head compressed his windpipe, but it was later discovered that he died of a crushed or severed spinal cord after his head dropped back due to poor bed positioning. He was 27 years old at the time.

Treves had plaster casts made of Merrick’s body and preserved his skeleton after his death, which is now on permanent display in the London Hospital’s collections.

Despite Merrick’s assumption that his deformities were caused by his mother’s experience with an elephant, the exact causes of his deformities have been the subject of much debate after his death.

Merrick’s life has also been the subject of many artistic interpretations. Bernard Pomerance’s play The Elephant Man made its Broadway debut in 1979. Merrick has been played by the likes of David Bowie and Mark Hamill in later productions of the play.

How Rich is Elephant Man?

Net Worth Salary
Under review Under review

It is unknown about his net worth and salary. However, it is still under review.

Elephant Man: Personal Life

He was not in any kind of relationship till his death. He also had not been engaged with anyone.

Body Status

He had brown hair and brown eyes but his height, weight, etc. is unknown.

Elephant Man: Social Media Followers

He was not active on any social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

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