Surface brightness profiles of bright ellipticals (MV
< −17, Ho
= 100) in rich clusters and the field are reduced to structural parameters. Most fitting functions are found to be inadequate in describing the overall shape of profiles with only the r
1/4 law providing a good match over the range of surface brightness from 19 to 24 mag arcsec−2. The systematic deviations in structure of first-ranked ellipticals from normal ellipticals (i.e. enlarged characteristic radii and shallow profile slopes) are well explained by comparison to the N-body simulations of merging systems from Duncan, Farouki, and Shapiro (1982).