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Hollywood A-lister visits Barts campus in preparation for Broadway production

Actor Bradley Cooper and former Barts Health NHS Trust surgeon Norman Waterhouse visited the QMUL Whitechapel campus on Thursday 9th October, as the Guardians of the Galaxy and Hangover star prepares for a lead role in the revival of the Broadway production, The Elephant Man

Mr Cooper – a two-time Oscar nominee who has also topped ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ polls – received rave reviews for his portrayal of Joseph Merrick in 2012 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. He has undertaken a large amount of research into the life and health of Mr Merrick to prepare for the role.

Mr Waterhouse, father of Bradley’s partner Suki, is an internationally renowned aesthetic surgeon and has presented his techniques in facial aesthetic surgery at conferences around the world. Now based at Harley Street, he has previously worked at both The Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

They joined the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Learning Resources Manager Steve Moore, SMD PR Manager Charli Scouller, and PR Officer Sarah Cox to observe Mr Merrick’s remains and discuss how Merrick would have been received in Victorian society. Steve explained how those viewing the skeleton are expected to consider Merrick’s feelings and understand the considerable challenges of living with his condition. These ethical and humanitarian considerations are an invaluable part of the learning experience for health workers during their training.

The Elephant Man had its Broadway debut in 1979, shortly before David Lynch’s 1980 movie of the same name. The play is notable for the fact that no prosthetic makeup is used on the actor portraying Merrick.

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