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Face doubled in size: the real story behind 1985 movie The Mask, starring singer Cher

Karina VishnyakovaNews
The story behind the movie The Mask, released in 1985

The biographical drama The Mask, released in 1985, surprised the audience with its plot. The story tells of a boy named Roy Lee Dennis with a rare disease that caused his face to double in size.

In the film, his rocker mother, who suffers from depression and drug addiction, was played by the iconic singer Cher. However, not everyone knows that the movie was based on a true story.

Face doubled in size: the real story behind 1985 movie The Mask, starring singer Cher

Roy Lee Dennis was born on December 4, 1961. At the age of two, the boy was diagnosed with a rare disease called diaphyseal dyspraxia. This disease affects 1 in 220 million people. There are less than two dozen reported cases worldwide.

Face doubled in size: the real story behind 1985 movie The Mask, starring singer Cher

Diaphyseal dyspraxia is a bone disease that causes the accumulation of bone tissue, including in the skull, causing gradual compression of the brain.

Face doubled in size: the real story behind 1985 movie The Mask, starring singer Cher

Roy's face doubled in size due to the dyspraxia, so he was nicknamed Rocky. Doctors claimed that the pressure on his central nervous system and cranial nerves would lead to a lack of vision and hearing and eventually affect his brain: he would die before his seventh birthday.

Face doubled in size: the real story behind 1985 movie The Mask, starring singer Cher

However, despite the disappointing prognosis, the disease did not affect the boy's intelligence: at the age of 6, Rocky went to school and learned to read.

Face doubled in size: the real story behind 1985 movie The Mask, starring singer Cher

According to open sources, Dennis was offered surgery to perform facial surgery. However, Roy refused.

Face doubled in size: the real story behind 1985 movie The Mask, starring singer Cher

Rocky lived to be 16 years old, dying on October 4, 1978. His official cause was sudden arrhythmic death syndrome. Dennis' body was transferred to the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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