‘The Elephant Man’ playwright Bernard Pomerance dies at 76

Playwright Bernard Pomerance, author of the 1979 Tony Award-winning play “The Elephant Man,” died Saturday from cancer complications at his home in Galisteo, N.M. He was 76.

Born in Brooklyn, Pomerance studied at the University of Chicago before moving in 1968 to London, where he formed the Foco Novo theater company. He made his debut as a playwright with “High in Vietnam, Hot Damn.”

Pomerance’s “Elephant Man” tells the true story of John Merrick, who was born with gross deformities of the head and body. He was saved from a life in English freak shows by a London doctor and became a darling of London society.

On Broadway, John Merrick has been played by Philip Anglim, David Bowie, Mark Hamill, Billy Crudup and, most recently, Bradley Cooper.

From left, Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson in "The Elephant Man."

From left, Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson in “The Elephant Man.”

Pomerance is survived by his children, Moby and Eve; grandchildren William Mossek and Gabriel Pomerance; and a brother, Michael. His wife, Evelyn Franceschi, died in 2015.

A memorial service will be planned for December in his hometown, followed by New York and London. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Christus St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center in Santa Fe, N.M.

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