Hunchbacks of history
Shakepeare’s King Richard III had a hunchback and a withered arm—a boon for physical actors.
In a great surprise for historians, Richard III's skeleton was discovered in a car park in England in 2012, and scans reveal he actually suffered from scoliosis.
Probably the most famous, Hugo’s hunchbacked bell-ringer was for a long time thought to be a work of fiction.
Historian Adrian Glew discovered references to a hunchbacked stonemason who worked on restoring the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.
Notable film adaptations include the 1923 silent movie featuring Lon Chaney as Quasimodo and Patsy Ruth Miller as Esmeralda, and Walt Disney's animated version in 1996.
The hunchback at the centre of Verdi’s popular opera was a character that gripped the composer’s imagination, the instant he read Victor Hugo’s play, Le roi s’amuse (The King Amuses Himself). In the play, the hunchbacked jester is known as Triboulet.
Verdi wrote: “The subject is grand, immense, and there is a character that is one of the greatest creations that the theatre can boast of, in any country and in all history.”
Like Hugo’s jester, Verdi’s protagonist is sadistic and grotesque, a misanthrope to society who nevertheless overflows with love for his daughter.
Immortalised in the 1931 film Frankenstein, the hunchbacked lab assistant of the villain, Dr Frankenstein, was actually named Fritz.
But since that film, Igor’has become a stock character, the hunchbacked assistant of your garden-variety villain.
In the 1974 film Young Frankenstein Igor (Marty Feldman) is the hunchbacked assistant of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), and the grandson of the original assistant of Frederick's grandfather, Victor Frankenstein.
In 2008 John Cusack voiced an animated movie called Igor, endearing hunchbacks to the hearts of children everywhere.
Riff Raff is the hunchbacked handyman in the musical science-fiction horror-comedy film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Based on the original 1973 musical stage production, the film became a cult phenomenom.