Doctors mistakenly thought Michael Redgrave was a ‘drunk’

The One Show: Michael J. Fox on hopes to find Parkinsons cure

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The Oscar nominee – for his portrayal of Orin in Mourning Becomes Electra (1947) – starred in numerous classics, from The Lady Vanishes (1938) to The Browning Version (1951). In the early 70s, when Redgrave had tell-tale signs of Parkinson’s disease, he already had to overcome the misguided perception that he was a drunk. “I’m not going to pretend that this is an easy or especially happy time for me,” Redgrave said on his 70th birthday.

“For a long time nobody understood the Parkinson’s condition and doctors thought I was just forgetful or drunk.”

Passing away seven years later, in March 1985, Redgrave left behind his wife, Rachel Kempson, and their three children: Vanessa, Corin, and Lynn.

Parkinson’s disease

Nowadays there has been much more research into the neurodegenerative disease.

One leading charity, the Parkinson’s Foundation pointed out the warning signs of the condition.

Symptoms can include a resting tremor, slowness of movement, limb stiffness, gait and balance problems.

Non-motor symptoms can include: depression, anxiety, apathy, hallucinations, constipation, orthostatic hypotension, sleep disorders, loss of sense of smell, and a variety of cognitive impairments.

The charity stated: “The Parkinson’s Foundation research has led to breakthroughs in treatment and improved care that bring hope to the Parkinson’s community.

“The field of Parkinson’s research is ongoing and ever evolving as we learn more about this disease.”

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Parkinson’s disease impacts people differently, meaning that people can experience differing symptoms and, if they are the same, at a different intensity.

In 1967, Hoehn and Yahr defined five stages of Parkinson’s based on the level of clinical disability.

Stage one

During this initial stage, the person will display mild symptoms that tend not to interfere with daily life.

Any tremors or movement symptoms will – at this stage – only occur on one side of the body.

It’s possible for there to be changes in posture, walking, and facial expressions in stage one of Parkinson’s disease.

Stage two

As the disease progresses into stage two, symptoms will worsen, now affecting both sides of the body.

“Walking problems and poor posture may be apparent,” the Parkinson’s Foundation added.

Stage three

By stage three, the “hallmark” symptom is unsteadiness when turning and a loss of balance.

Symptoms will interfere with daily activities, but the person is still capable of leading an independent life.

Stage four

Stage four is considered “severely disabling”, and the person will require caring for.

Stage five

In stage five, “around-the-clock” care is required and the person will be unable to walk.

Michael Redgrave features in The Lady Vanishes, which is airing on BBC Two on Saturday, October 8 at 2.40pm.

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