Many great movies have been based on real events. Some of those events are so shocking that first-time watchers can be amazed to learn that such incredible events and unbelievable people were actual.
Many have come and gone, leaving inspirational stories behind as their legacies. One movie that shined a bright light on a sad story was 1985’s Mask.
The movie, directed by Peter Bogdonavich, was a bio-drama that embellished but faithfully told the later years of the short-lived life of real-life Roy Lee “Rocky” Dennis, a boy with craniodiaphyseal dysplasia.
It starred Eric Stoltz in heavy prosthetic make-up to simulated the very medically real condition, pop-singer Cher and Sam Elliot in the leading roles.
The film highlighted a significant person, one who had a brief life, died at 16 of natural causes, and helped open a greater understanding of his condition and many others to the world.
10 The Boy Named Rocky
“Rocky” Dennis was born in 1961 in Glendora, California. Florence “Rusty” Dennis was then married to Roy Dennis, her second husband. Rocky’s birth was relatively normal, as was his infancy.
It wasn’t until he was two years old that his symptoms started to develop, and he was diagnosed with his rare disease.
Doctors told Rusty that her son would likely die from the pressure on his brain by the time he was 7, but he lived to be 16, double their early expectations.
The disease caused massive overgrowth of his head to the point where his skull was near twice the average person’s size, but not proportionate. His eyes and mouth and nose didn’t grow out to match it.
Instead, his forehead and the sides of his face expanded upward and outward, his eyes were tiny by comparison, and his nose was flat. His regular appearance was like a mask or a Lion with a mane, hence the name.