Michael Berryman is an American actor, best known for his iconic roles in horror films. He was born with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, a rare condition, characterized by the absence of sweat glands, hair and fingernails. Berryman grew up dealing with a lot of bullying and teasing because of his unusual appearance. Berryman worked as a florist before beginning his acting career in Hollywood. It was while he was working at the flower shop that a senior Hollywood producer came there to buy flowers. George Pal offered Berryman the role of a coroner in his production ‘Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze.’ Shortly after his debut, he gained popularity for playing ‘Ellis’ in ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’ His major breakthrough came with his role as ‘Pluto’ in ‘The Hills Have Eyes’, an American horror film directed by Wes Craven. He has also appeared in two major science fiction television series, ‘X Files’ and ‘Star Trek.’ Besides film and television, he has also featured in the heavy metal band Motley Crue’s video for ‘Smokin’ in The Boys’ Room.’
Childhood & Early Life
Michael John Berryman was born on September 4, 1948 in Los Angeles to Sloan and Barbara Berryman. His father was a reputed neurosurgeon and his mother was a registered nurse. His father was of Northern Irish, German, and English heritage, while his mother was of Bohemian, German and Swedish descent.
He went through extensive cranial reconstruction at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles as a child. Growing up, he faced bullying because of his medical condition, which made him look different from others. In spite being teased, he remained quite grounded and unaffected.
While working as florist, he was approached by a big time Hollywood producer named George Pal who happened to be shopping at his shop. After a long conversation, Berryman accepted to play the role of a coroner in the 1975 production, ‘Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze’.
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Michael Berryman gained popularity for his portrayal as ‘Ellis’ in the 1975 movie adaptation of ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ a novel written by American author Ken Keysey’s.
His breakthrough role was that of ‘Pluto’ in the 1977 horror film ‘The Hills Have Eyes’, produced by Peter Locke and directed by Wes Craven. He later appeared in 1981’s horror film, ‘Deadly Blessing’, in which he brought the role of ‘William Gluntz’ to life.
He played the role of a valet in ‘Invitation to Hell’ in 1984. The year 1985 was a busy one for Berryman, as he worked on various projects, including ‘Weird Science’ where he played a mutant biker, ‘My Science Project’ as Mutant #1’ and a second stint as ‘Pluto’ in the 1984 film ‘The Hills Have Eyes Part II.’
In 1985, Berryman played the principal in the music video of the song ‘Smokin’ in the Boys Room’ for the heavy metal band, Mötley Crüe. He also appeared as the introduction to the band’s song ‘Home Sweet Home’.
He has starred in several episodes of TV series like ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ in 1988 and the science fiction drama ’X-Files’ in 1995.
He portrayed the devil in two episodes of the TV drama series, ‘Highway to Heaven’: ‘The Devil and Jonathan Smith’ in 1985 and ‘I Was a Middle Aged Werewolf’ in 1987.
Berryman appeared in several movies in the 1990s. In 1990, he appeared as ‘Mr. Balzac’ in ‘Evil Spirit.’ In 1991, he acted as ‘Pilgrim #1’ in the movie, ‘Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time’, as ‘Herman’ in ‘Teenage Exorcist’ and as ‘Lisker’ in ‘The Guyver’
He was cast as the ‘Maniac Leader’ in the movie ‘Double Dragon’ in 1994. The same year, he played the ‘Skull Cowboy’ in the movie, ‘The Crow’. His scenes from the movie were deleted but are available in the movie’s editions that include edited scenes.
In the year 2000, he starred as ‘Himself’ in the movie, ‘The Independent’ and as ‘Chives’ in ‘Two Heads Are Better Than None.’ He also played ‘Clevon’ in ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ in 2005.
Berryman had a role as the ‘Zombie Head’ in the 2010 film ‘Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster.’ In 2011, he acted as ‘Gunnar’ in the thriller-horror Canadian movie, ‘Below Zero’.
He starred as ‘Dr. Pepperdine’ in the 2015 Western film, ‘Kill or Be Killed’, ‘The Founder’ and ‘Z Nation’ in 2017 and as ‘The Godmichael’ in ‘Violent Starr’ in 2018.
Apart from acting, Berryman has also worked as an associate producer in the 2013 movie, ‘Red On Yella, Kill a Fella’. His movie ‘Shed of the Dead’ is in the post production stage and is expected to be released soon.
Family & Personal Life
Michael Berryman is married to Patricia Berryman. He and his wife own and run a farm in Northern California where they have walnut, apple, pear, cherry and plum orchards, in addition to a horse ranch.
Due to his health issues, he takes precautions while working in outdoor conditions to prevent overheating.
Berryman attracts large crowds at horror movie conventions. He has made appearances at several conventions in the USA, including the ‘Horrorfind Convention in Baltimore’, Maryland in 2001 and 2002. He was also a guest at the ‘Eerie Horror Film Festival and Horror Convention’ in 2007.
In 2007, he won the ‘EyeGore Award’ for ‘Career Contribution in Horror Genre’.
He lived in the ‘Wolf Mountain Sanctuary’ in California for 10 years and is a strong proponent of environmental protection.