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What’s Shaking in Hollywood? Famous People with Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s Disease
Welcome! If you’re reading this, Parkinson’s disease (PD) or Essential tremor (ET) has probably affected your life in one way or another. PD and ET are both progressive diseases of the nervous system, which cause uncontrollable tremors to the hands, head, trunk, voice, and other body parts. While living with a tremor can be frustrating, upsetting, and hard at times, it is important to remember that you are not alone. In fact, you’re in good company! PD and ET are among the most common nervous system disorders, affecting over 41 million people worldwide. Let’s take a look at PD and ET cases in Hollywood. Stars — They’re just like us!
Perhaps the most widely known person with ET is former President Bill Clinton. President Clinton was often mistaken for having PD, after his hand tremors were caught on camera numerous times. However, at a press conference in 2013, President Clinton debunked that belief, and clarified that he has ET.
Ever wondered why you see so many squiggly lines in the Peanuts cartoons? Well, you guessed it! Charles Schulz, creator of the peanuts cartoons also suffered from ET. Schulz turned lemons into lemonade, creating an aesthetic out of the unsteady penmanship as seen in many people who have ET. A perfect example — Charlie’s Hair!!
Now for a case of PD — in 1984, famous boxer, Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with PD. His diagnosis was made public three years after he formally retired from boxing. Although, before he retired, fans started noticing changes to his voice and speech, which made them curious as to what was going on. Ali now has a program named after him, the “Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center,” at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona. Before he passed away in 2016, Ali spent years advocating for people with PD.
Michael J Fox
You may also be familiar with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, named after Michael J. Fox, who is a Canadian-American retired actor. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through research and other initiatives. While many people with PD experience symptoms and receive a diagnosis after the age of 40, Michael J. Fox was diagnosed when he was just 29 years old.
Other Notables with ET include the late actress Katharine Hepburn, and the creator of Downton Abbey, Lord Julian Fellowes. And, others with PD include NBA power forward Brian Grant, or former U.S attorney general Janet Reno. These stars help us to recognize that while PD and ET can have an impact on your ability to function, it is possible to thrive despite these challenges, and live a long, fulfilling life!
If you or someone you know is suffering from hand tremors, check out the Steadi-Two — a revolutionary assistive device designed to reduce hand tremors for people with Parkinson’s disease and Essential tremor.