While Alzheimer’s disease was first described in 1901, it was relatively unknown until the last quarter of the 20th century. Famous people with Alzheimer’s like Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston have been instrumental in increasing public awareness about the illness and efforts to find a cure.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as . Reagan himself would later succumb to the disease, but Alzheimer’s Awareness Month continues.
Other celebrities like Glen Campbell and Rita Hayworth have heightened understanding of the illness and reduce the stigma of Alzheimer’s patients by publicly announcing their own illnesses:
1. Malcolm Young (1953 – ): Malcolm Young, legendary guitarist and co-founder of rock band AC/DC, has been playing guitar since 1969. He’s considered by some to be one of the best rhythm guitarists in the world, producing hits like “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Unfortunately, Young recently announced his retirement from music, due to a dementia diagnosis. An follows his “complete loss of short term memory, ” and that he has trouble remembering people moments after meeting them.
2. Glenn Campbell (1936 – ): Country singer and guitarist, Glen Campbell, announced in 2011 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He’s completed his “Goodbye Tour, ” which concluded in Napa, California. Campbell has over 50 years in the music business and on television, and landed a historical win of four Grammy’s in 1967.
3. Pat Summitt (1952 – ): Pat Summitt coached the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team to an amazing 8 NCAA championships and retired with a record of 1, 098-208. Summit recently announced that she had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. She retains the title of Head Coach Emeritus, and is currently involved as an advocate for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Perry Como (1912 – 2001): Perry Como was a popular singer and television personality during the 1950s and 1960s and continued to perform periodically during his later years, especially around Christmas. Como suffered from Alzheimer’s for two years before passing away in 2001. Como spent more than 50 years in the entertainment business and was widely respected, personally and professionally.
5. Charles Bronson (1921 – 2003): Charles Bronson, star of “Death Wish” and numerous other action films, spent the last years of his life debilitated from Alzheimer’s. An article about Bronson’s late years, that discusses his struggle with the disease.
6. Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004): Six years after the end of his presidency, to the American public that he was “one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.” He said that his public disclosure was intended to raise public awareness about the disease.
7. Charlton Heston (1923 – 2008): Charlton Heston’s most famous role was as Moses in “The Ten Commandments.” Like his personal friend, Ronald Reagan, Heston also announced publicly that he had Alzheimer’s. Heston left a long legacy of entertainment contributions and political activism.
Morgan Freeman - The Inspirational Life Story of Morgan Freeman: The Unique Voice That Gets Everyone Listening (Inspirational Life Stories By Gregory Watson)
You might also like: