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Roger Ebert and Thyroid Cancer

Roger Ebert was the Chicago Sun-Times film critic who joined the Chicago Tribune film critic, Gene Siskel, in hosting a nationally-acclaimed show on PBS television. He was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for reviewing movies and the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame....

Penny Marshall, Death by Diabetes

This is the story of a brilliant and highly successful lady who thought that she was stupid, incompetent and unattractive. Penny Marshall was an outstanding actress, director and producer. In the 1970s, she received three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy for playing Laverne DeFazio in the sitcom Laverne & Shirley.

Paul Prudhomme: The Perils of Morbid Obesity

Paul Prudhomme died Thursday, October 8, 2015, at age 75. He was an internationally famous chef and restaurateur who, in the early 1980's, used blackening and spicing of fish and chicken in the Cajun and Creole traditions to build a food empire. He started a cooking craze that spread worldwide through his...

Gustav Mahler and the Strep Throat that Killed Him

Gustav Mahler was born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) to German-Jewish parents who were children of street peddlers. By age five, Gustav was an accomplished piano player and at 10 he played many public performances. By age 15, he was such a good pianist that the famous piano virtuoso, Julius Epstein, accepted him as a pupil at the Vienna Conservatory.

Lili Marleen, the Peace Song of War

During World War II, both Allied and Axis soldiers on the front lines buoyed themselves up by listening to the same song, "Lili Marleen". The song was incredibly effective in raising the morale of soldiers living in the worst of conditions and not knowing when it would be their turn to be killed. The song is about a soldier who is called back to his barracks, forcing him to leave his love under the light of a lantern and he declares that he will return to her.

Van Cliburn, Cold War Hero

In 1958, at the height of the "Cold War", the Soviet Union gained an incredible coup by successfully launching Sputnik 1, the first orbiting satellite. At that time, almost all of the world’s premier pianists came from the Soviet Union, so they sponsored the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow to...

Rachel Carson: Is Breast Cancer an Environmental Disease?

Rachel Carson was an environmental scientist and writer who alerted the world to the health dangers of pesticides and fertilizers. Her best-selling book, Silent Spring, led to formation of a presidential commission that recommended banning DDT, and to creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In 1964, she died of breast cancer.

Harold Reid of The Statler Brothers

Harold Reid was the bass singer of the Statler Brothers, one of the most successful vocal harmony groups in the history of country music. They moved gospel harmonies into popular country music.

George Michael: Fatty Liver and Dilated Cardiomyopathy

George Michael was an English singer, songwriter and producer who sold more than 115 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-seling music artists of all time. His solo album "Faith" sold 20 million copies.

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Power of Observation

Students in every medical school hear the same stories heard in every other medical school, but they usually believe that these stories happened to their own professors at their own school. Here is a story that I heard when I was in medical school in the 1950s. DR HOFF’S STORY: Dr. Hebel Hoff was chairman...

Alan Thicke and Aortic Dissection

On Dec. 13, 2016, at age 69, Alan Thicke collapsed while playing ice hockey with his 19-year-old son and died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm after first being diagnosed as having had a heart attack at a Burbank CA hospital.

Tab Hunter, 1950s Heart Throb

Blond, blue-eyed Tab Hunter was so good-looking that he became a leading Hollywood movie star of the 1950s and 1960s. He was very athletic as a competitive figure skater in his youth and a lifelong accomplished horseman, so he was featured in roles such as the baseball player in the 1958 musical film Damn Yankees. He was also a popular singer whose 1957 hit record, "Young Love," sold more than a million copies and was number one on the Hit Parade for six weeks.

Tim Conway and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Tim Conway starred on television for 40 years, where he played Ensign Parker on McHale's Navy for four years, created an array of comic characters on The Carol Burnett Show for 11 years, and hosted his own variety show for two years.  He received six Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, a star on Hollywood’s...

Ted Corbitt, the Father of Long Distance Running

Ted Corbitt ran more miles in training, often up to 200 miles a week, than any runner I ever heard of, yet his fastest time in a marathon was a mediocre 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds, almost 24 minutes slower than the present world record for that distance. Corbitt competed in 199 marathons and ultra-marathons and made the 1952 United States Olympic marathon team.

Andre the Giant and Acromegaly

Andre the Giant was a professional wrestler who at 7' 4" and 520 pounds, won the World Wrestling Federation individual championship and World Tag Team Championship. He was also an actor in several Hollywood films. His huge size was caused by a pituitary gland brain tumor that produced huge amounts of human growth hormone.

Robin Williams and Lewy Body Dementia

On August 11, 2014, we lost one of the greatest comics and actors of our time when Robin Williams took his own life at his home in California. He was 63. At the time of his death, there was a lot of speculation about his recent depression. His wife had not yet released the news that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and later, when his brain was examined, he was found to have suffered from Lewy Body Dementia.

Neal Boyd, AGT Winner, Dead at 42

Neal E. Boyd was a kid who grew up in poverty in the tiny mid-western town of Sikeston, Missouri, and was raised by a loving single mother. From there he followed a path that eventually led him to win a million dollars and the 2008 national title on America's Got Talent.

Dmitri Mendeleev, Father of the Periodic Table

Dmitri Mendeleev developed the Periodic Table that organized all of the chemical elements known at that time and many that were not yet known. He placed them in their correct order by their number of atoms (not their weight) and predicted elements that would be discovered in the future. It is...

Eugene O’Neill’s Guilt and Death

When you were in school, you may have read some of Eugene O’Neill’s more than 50 plays, such as Long Day's Journey into Night, Desire Under the Elms, or A Moon for the Misbegotten. He was the only American playwright to ever win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Bess Myerson’s Highs and Lows

Bess Myerson won the 1945 Miss America contest because she was the most beautiful, most talented and at 5'10", the tallest entrant. She went on to become an adored television personality and then had a successful career in politics. However, this beautiful, brilliant and talented woman made terrible decisions in her personal life that eventually drove her from the limelight into scandal and obscurity.

Mike Pyle: Head Injuries and Dementia

Former Chicago Bears tight end Mike Pyle died this month of a brain hemorrhage at age 76. He had been one of the smartest players in the National Football League. In 1960, he was captain of the undefeated Yale football team that destroyed Harvard 39–6, and received the Lambert Trophy as...

Carol Purdie (Diana’s Mother) and The Fall of Singapore

February 15th is the anniversary of the Fall of Singapore in 1942. Many families have stories of their war heroes, and this is the story of Diana's mother, Carol Brown Purdie, who survived on both fronts of World War II: The Blitz in England and the Japanese capture of Singapore. She never fully recovered from the trauma.

Kim Kardashian’s Psoriasis

Kimberly Noel Kardashian, one of the most visible women in the United States today, suffers from psoriasis, a skin disease that causes raised red patches with silvery scales to form on her body. Three percent of North Americans or more than eight million people have this hereditary condition. Kardashian is a fashion...

Burt Reynolds’ Heart Attack

Burt Reynolds was a famous film and television star, producer, and director who had it all. He was extremely good looking, incredibly popular with the ladies, a gifted movie star who could be absolutely hilarious, a college scholarship athlete who was a potential All-American, and a much sought-after actor who became fabulously wealthy.

Sam Shepard and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Sam Shepard was a prolific playwright, actor, screenwriter and director who acted in more than sixty films and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, and wrote more than 55 plays, often focusing on the serious problems that occur in American family life.

Chris Klug, the Bravest Olympian

On February 15, 2002 in one of the most amazing feats of courage and athleticism, Chris Klug of the United States placed third in the Giant Slalom of Snowboarding at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City — eighteen months after receiving someone else’s liver to replace his liver that was destroyed by a...

Don Imus, Prostate Cancer and Emphysema

Don Imus wore an old cowboy hat as the confrontational radio host of “Imus in the Morning,” who shouted tasteless, obscene, sexist, homophobic and even racist remarks about people in the news over more than 100 radio stations to become the "shock jock of radio." In 2009 he was diagnosed with localized prostate cancer and treated with watchful waiting.

Gordie Howe, the Toughest Athlete

National Hockey League All-Star Gordie Howe was arguably the best hockey player ever because he was stronger, faster and more pugnacious than everyone else. He played professional hockey for fifty years.