Rocky Dennis was born December 4, 1961 in Glendora, California, to Florence “Rusty” Tullis and Roy Dennis. At the age of 4, Dennis was diagnosed with craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, also known as CDD or lionitis, an extremely rare disease occurring in approximately 1 in every 220 million births, with fewer than 20 recorded cases. CDD is a bone disorder that causes calcium to build up in the skull, disfiguring the facial features and reducing life expectancy. 
Doctors informed his mother that the abnormal calcium deposits in his skull would push his eyes toward the edges of his head, twist his nose out of shape, cause his eyesight and hearing to fail and, if the handful of cases on record were any indication, result in tremendous pressure that would destroy his brain before he was seven.
Dennis experienced problems with eyesight and hearing along with painful headaches, but was able to do most of the things doctors told him he would never accomplish, such as learn to read. They told him that his poor eyesight, which made him legally blind, meant that he would never read a book. However, he entered school at the age of six, despite disapproval by many teachers, and although experiencing a slow start (he spent two years in the first grade), he was able to make reasonable progress thereafter.
Dennis resided in Azusa, California. He and his mother lived for a time in Covina (Grandview Avenue), where he attended Ben Lomond Elementary School.
He died aged 16, on October 4, 1978. His life was the basis for the 1985 Academy Award winning drama film Mask.

Rocky Dennis was born December 4, 1961 in Glendora, California, to Florence “Rusty” Tullis and Roy Dennis. At the age of 4, Dennis was diagnosed with craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, also known as CDD or lionitis, an extremely rare disease occurring in approximately 1 in every 220 million births, with fewer than 20 recorded cases. CDD is a bone disorder that causes calcium to build up in the skull, disfiguring the facial features and reducing life expectancy. 

Doctors informed his mother that the abnormal calcium deposits in his skull would push his eyes toward the edges of his head, twist his nose out of shape, cause his eyesight and hearing to fail and, if the handful of cases on record were any indication, result in tremendous pressure that would destroy his brain before he was seven.

Dennis experienced problems with eyesight and hearing along with painful headaches, but was able to do most of the things doctors told him he would never accomplish, such as learn to read. They told him that his poor eyesight, which made him legally blind, meant that he would never read a book. However, he entered school at the age of six, despite disapproval by many teachers, and although experiencing a slow start (he spent two years in the first grade), he was able to make reasonable progress thereafter.

Dennis resided in Azusa, California. He and his mother lived for a time in Covina (Grandview Avenue), where he attended Ben Lomond Elementary School.

He died aged 16, on October 4, 1978. His life was the basis for the 1985 Academy Award winning drama film Mask.

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