Bernard Pomerance, the playwright who wrote the poignant Tony Award-winning drama “The Elephant Man,” about a grotesquely deformed but sensitive man in Victorian England whose human longings are often misunderstood by those around him, died Aug. 26 at his home near Galisteo, New Mexico. He was 76.

His agent, Alan Brodie, confirmed the death. The cause was lung cancer.

The American-born playwright spent much of his career in London, where he wrote several early plays and helped found a small avant-garde theater company. He found little success until “The Elephant Man,” which was first performed in London in 1977.

The play is based on the life of Joseph Merrick, a 19th-century British man with a condition that produced large, unsightly growths on his head and much of his body. He spent years on display in a freak show, enduring the ridicule and disgust of the carnival-goers.