Actress Teri Garr has multiple sclerosis.
On CNN’s Larry King Live, Garr, best known for her hilarious performances in the comedies Young Frankenstein and Tootsie (for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress), admitted she has been battling the nerve disease for nearly 20 years.
“I do go on with my life,” Garr told CNN’s King. “The good news now is that there’s a lot of good medicines out there and options for people.”
Multilple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease which attacks the central nervous systems. Symptoms range from numbness and poor coordination to blindness and paralysis. It affects about 2.5 million people worldwide, most of them women. There is no known cure.
“I think everybody is scared and frightened when they hear something like that, and that’s because there’s not a lot of information out there about it,” Garr said.
It took several years for Garr to get a firm diagnosis because the symptoms were hard to detect. She now walks with a slight limp and has been fitted for a leg brace as well as taking medication to control her symptoms. She felt it was time to go public with her illness so she could help others deal with the disease in ways such as by working as a paid ambassador for MS-Lifelines, a program for people with multiple sclerosis.
Asked by King whether this has affected her work, Garr replied, “I worked the whole time but then later it (the work) thinned out, but then I thought, ‘What’s worse in Hollywood, being handicapped or being a woman over 50?’ You know it thins out anyway.”
“I don’t think negatively about any of the stuff,” she added.