Michael John Berryman was born in Los Angeles, California, on September 4th, 1948. This 6’ 2” (1.88 m) actor is notable for his appearance and beloved performances in horror movies.
Michael Berryman is of English, Cornish, Scotch-Irish, German, Swedish, and Bohemian-Czech ancestry. While not much has been published about his mother, Barbara, his father, Sloan Berryman, was a US Naval surgeon and neurologist. Sloan Berryman was also deployed to the Hiroshima fallout zone in the wake of the atomic bombing, which may have influenced Michael’s disease.
His father was involved in the examination of notable people such as John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Michael reveals that shortly before his father died, he told him how Marilyn Monroe was murdered.
Michael Berryman was born with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. In his own words in an interview with Movies and Mania: “I was born before my sweat glands, hair and teeth were finished being formed.”
Michael Berryman was also born with an underdeveloped skull, resulting in a craniectomy. He notes, "The doctors literally built me a finished skull. Bones were chipped from my hips, to build bridges for the skull grafts.” Michael mentions because of the craniectomy, he was not able to grow hair.
As a young man, Michael also learned that he would be incapable of sweating, leaving him highly susceptible to heat stroke, but with precautions, he has become a beloved Hollywood actor.
However, growing up with his condition proved challenging. He went to a Catholic grammar school and high school and was teased and mocked for his appearance. He would often pity those who mocked him.
Before becoming an actor, Michael Berryman worked as a florist in Venice Beach. Berryman had always had an interest in nature.
While he was working as a florist, Berryman was discovered by George Pal, a Hungarian director, producer, and animator. George Pal invited Berryman to join the cast of his movie, Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze, in 1975. The film starred Ron Ely, Paul Gleason, and William Lucking.
One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest
The film wasn’t a success, but it was enough to get Michael Berryman a role in a movie, One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest (1975).
This movie would become a foundational film of the gritty new wave of Hollywood. Michael Berryman would receive third billing after Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher. The film is beloved and studied to this day and was Michael Berryman’s second role.
Michael Berryman’s acting career is admired, with over 100 acting credits on IMDB and many iconic films. He would land his most iconic role two years after One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when he was a featured mutant in the Wes Craven horror film The Hills Have Eyes (1977).
The Hills Have Eyes
The Hills Have Eyes was Wes Craven’s second film after the controversial but legendary The Last House on the Left (1972). The film follows a family who becomes stranded in the desert and is hunted and attacked by a family of cannibal mutants.
Given Michael Berryman’s unique looks, he was cast as the mutant Pluto, and Pluto would go on to be the face of the film and the larger franchise.
The cast and crew admired Berryman for his professionalism. However, the shoot would present several challenges, given Berryman could not sweat, and the shooting locations often climbed to triple-digit temperatures.
Regardless, with precautions, he contributed to the film, which literally made his face known across the movie industry as he was the poster’s focus.
Since then, he has gone on to appear in many major and cult films. He is also no stranger to franchises. His notable works include Weird Science (1985), several Mötley Crüe music videos, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).
He would have a continuous relationship with Star Trek as a franchise, appearing in several films and series. In 1988 he would make an appearance in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, entitled ‘Conspiracy.’
Michael would play the part of Capt. Rixx, a Bolian Starfleet officer. He said he loved the makeup so much that he wore it up and even picked up his girlfriend’s kids from grammar school with it on.
He would also have roles in The X-Files (1995), The Devil’s Rejects (2005), Smash Cut (2009), and Z Nation (2017).
What is Michael Berryman doing now?
Michael Berryman is still a very busy actor. He has at least five films due for 2023 and beyond. He is also a beloved convention guest and always draws a crowd.
He has a busy convention schedule and travels all over the United States to horror, science fiction, and comic conventions to meet fans and take photos with them. In 2022 he attended the PA Horror Con and Film Festival and will be attending the ScareFest 14 convention and the Frightmare in The Falls convention.
Micahel is also in the process of writing a memoir, where he will be discussing every part of his life.
Michael Berryman is currently married to Patricia Berryman. Information about Michael Berryman is easy to find, but his wife seems to live a more private life. It is unknown when they were married, but sources suggest the late 1960s. Patricia has been supportive of her husband’s career over the decades.
There is no indication that Michael and Patricia Berryman have had children. No news articles or photos of their pair with children have been found. It is unlikely that Michael Berryman has children.
Misc Michael Berryman Facts
He recently recapped his career on The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs on Shudder, where they discussed his time living in a wolf sanctuary. Berryman lived at the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in Lucerne Valley, California, for around a decade. The sanctuary rehabilitates and rescues wolves and fits with Michael Berryman’s love of nature and preservation.
Michael mentions that he stumbled upon the sanctuary during a time in his life when he was broke and found a place to rent for $90/month. He eventually became a caretaker of the wolf sanctuary.