Candice Bergen’s Stroke

(Photo: Marc Stamas/Getty Images)

Wow, she still looks very beautiful, and I really like her attitude:

“People complain about parts for women, people complain about getting old,” she says. “It’s a privilege to get old.”

The New York Magazine piece is a good, and quick, read; I found Bergen’s revelation about her stroke to be most interesting:

Rounder of face, grayer and wispier of hair, Bergen tells me that in the fall of 2006, she had a minor stroke. She denied it at the time and is reluctant to admit it today, because “I just don’t want it to be a liability.” She says she missed only two weeks of shooting on Boston Legal . . . When producer Jeffrey Richards approached Bergen for [a theater role], she hesitated. Broadway has long provided safe harbor for actresses aging out of Hollywood—while also exposing them to the nightly risk of irreversible errors. “My concern with theater was no retakes,” Bergen says. “I had no confidence in my memory, . . .

While she needn’t become become a poster-girl for stroke prevention and rehabilitation, I do hope Bergen will talk more about her experience, or perhaps write something about it. I used to volunteer as a pastoral care assistant at a local Catholic hospital, and I always wound up with the patients recovering from brain injuries. Strokes are terrifying events; much of my time was spent just hugging people and letting them weep out all their fear and sense of loss. It’s important for families and for those recovering to know that life can and does go on.

Learn how to recognize the signs of a stroke, and about F-A-S-T (Face, Arms, Speech, Time). The earlier a stroke is diagnosed and treated, of course, the better and more comprehensive the recovery.

A stroke is serious — it’s always serious, and often a game-changer — but formidable recovery is possible. People need to know it. I’m glad Bergen brought it up.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Gayle Miller

    It is important that she actually talk about what happened. In my case, I self-diagnosed because I had an aunt who had a stroke that was much more severe than the mild one I suffered and I had similar manifestations. I went to my doctor, told her my symptoms and she sent me right to the hospital for testing; I ended up spending 3 days there. Subsequently I had both carotid arteries in my neck “roto-rootered” by a very good neurosurgeon, with teflon patches put in where the clots were cleared away. I am still on anti-cholesteral drugs, quit smoking and changed my diet to healthier food and after the surgery, my cognition improved enormously, as did my eye hand coordination. I was also diagnosed with sleep apnea and now sleep with a CPAP machine next to my bed (which I hate). But I sleep more soundly and feel better for it.

    A stroke that is mild is a warning to make changes in your life and should be heeded. Someone like Candice Bergen can make that clear.

  • fiestamom

    Thanks for the article. I’m glad she survived the stroke. I think Patricia Neal had a debilitating stroke, and never fully recovered?

    Can I just say that I love how Candice Bergen looks? She is still stunningly beautiful, and she still looks human. There are so many shows/movies that I can’t watch now because of what the Hollywood women have done to their face. How I wish that these women would allow themselves to age naturally. Bergen looks worlds better than Andrea Mitchell or Barbara Walters. I saw a news clip of Lindsay Lohan in court this week, and she has even had plastic surgery, and she’s in her 20′s.

  • Jim Hicks

    I appreciate this article. As a person who has also suffered a stroke (a mild one) I always need to learn all I can about signs and treatment. A friend of my childhood days has suffered 2 T.I.A’s. 20 years later, he can only utter two words in a row and needs a walker. He can write however, and keeps up with friends on Facebook.