Michael John Berryman was born on September 4th 1948 in Los Angeles, California, United States. It was soon discovered that he was born with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia which is a rare condition leaving him with no sweat glands, hair, fingernails or teeth.
As a child Berryman was bullied for his appearance, reflecting back he notes:
“I was pretty well grounded. I was being teased and whatever and I didn’t have anger skills, so I would go to the parents and say your children are brats and tell them they were bad parents.”
Berryman was working as a florist when he was convinced to try acting by director George Pal (The Time Machine, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao , Sinbad, Tubby the Tuba). As a result of his unusual physical appearance Berryman was presented the opportunity to make a career in film that would later focus on horror and B movies.
Berryman first appeared on the big screen in 1975 in Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze, that same year he established himself on the Cult Faction radar in the role of Ellis in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
In 1977, Berryman took on the role of Pluto in The Hills Have Eyes (a role he reprised for its 1985 sequel The Hills Have Eyes Part II) and found himself and the forefront of horror movies.
Further roles followed in The Fifth Floor, Deadly Blessing, Voyage of the Rock Aliens, My Science Project, Weird Science, Armed Response, Evil Spirits, and The Guyver.
Berryman filmed the role of The Skull Cowboy for 1994’s The Crow. The Skull Cowboy was Eric Draven’s (played by Brandon Lee) guide to the land of the living. Unfortunately Berryman’s scenes were cut from the original theatrical release, but can be found on some DVD releases under “Deleted Scenes”.
Despite this roles still came in for Berryman on the big and small screen including Invitation to Hell, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, The Fall Guy, The Barbarians, The Highwayman, Highway To Heaven, ALF, Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues, Ocean, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Tales from the Crypt, The Secret of the Golden Eagle, Double Dragon, The X-Files, Spy Hard, Conan, Kenan & Kel: Two Heads Are Better Than None, The Devil’s Rejects, Penny Dreadful, Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield, The Haunted Casino, Satan Hates You, Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, The Lords of Salem, Army of the Damned, Hell Hunters and Zombificador.
Berryman is no stranger to music videos either with appearances in Mötley Crüe’s Smokin’ In the Boys Room and Eminem’s Without Me.
Berryman is a strong advocate for environmental protection and lived on a wolf sanctuary for ten years.