Bruce Willis’ Dementia Has Taken His Trademark ‘Joie de Vivre,’ Friend and ‘Moonlighting’ Creator Says

“He loved life and… just adored waking up every morning and trying to live life to its fullest,” Glenn Gordon Caron says

Bruce Willis attends the 17th Annual A Great Night In Harlem at The Apollo Theater
Bruce Willis (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

“Moonlighting” creator Glenn Gordon Caron shared excitement for the classic 1980s rom-com detective series finally being available on streaming, but also that star Bruce Willis, 68, has continued to see his condition worsen.

Willis retired from acting after first being diagnosed with aphasia, which affects communication, in 2022, before receiving a more specific dementia diagnosis earlier this year.

“He’s not totally verbal,” Caron said in an interview with the New York Post. “He used to be a voracious reader — he didn’t want anyone to know that — and he’s not reading now. All those language skills are no longer available to him, and yet he’s still Bruce.”

Caron, creator of the series that turned Willis into a star, spoke with the Post on Tuesday for an interview released Wednesday. The TV creator said that he tries to visit Willis every month and keeps in regular contact with both the actor’s wife Emma and his three older children.

“I have tried very hard to stay in his life,” Caron said. “My sense is the first one to three minutes he knows who I am.”

Still, he was able to tell Willis about “Moonlighting” finally being available to a wider audience with its recent release on Hulu.

“I know he’s really happy that the show is going to be available for people, even though he can’t tell me that,” Caron said. “The process has taken quite a while and Bruce’s disease is a progressive disease, so I was able to communicate with him, before the disease rendered him as incommunicative as he is now, about hoping to get the show back in front of people. I know it means a lot to him.”

Willis’ family shared this photo of Willis reading on social media just over three months ago:

The TV writer-producer, who also created the show “Medium,” said that he knows Willis is still the same person deep down but that it seems as if Willis is now “seeing life through a screen door.”

“If you’ve ever spent time with Bruce Willis, there is no one who had any more joie de vivre than he,” Caron said. “He loved life and… just adored waking up every morning and trying to live life to its fullest.”

“When you’re with him, you know that he’s Bruce and you’re grateful that he’s there,” Caron added, “but the joie de vivre is gone.”

The star’s wife Emma Heming Willis gave her first TV interview following his diagnosis in September. She shared that “it’s hard to know” if he’s aware of his own diagnosis.

“Dementia is hard,” she said in the interview with “Today.” “It’s hard on the person diagnosed, it’s also hard on the family. And that is no different for Bruce, or myself, or our girls. When they say this is a family disease, it really is.”

Willis’ family continues to care for him after a difficult last few years of his career, which included dialogue having to be cut for the actor and reports that he missed cues firing a prop gun on set.

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