When A-Listers Get Illnesses …

OZZY OSBOURNE Parkin’s Disease  The heavy-metal legend rose to fame as the frontman for the British group Black Sabbath but was fired in 1979 for his instability and drug abuse.   Dubbed “The Prince of Darkness” by fans and critics, Osbourne went on to have a prolific solo career and, with his wife, created “Ozzfest,” […]

Last Updated: June 30, 2009 @ 6:50 PM

OZZY OSBOURNE

Parkin’s Disease 

The heavy-metal legend rose to fame as the frontman for the British group Black Sabbath but was fired in 1979 for his instability and drug abuse.

 

Dubbed “The Prince of Darkness” by fans and critics, Osbourne went on to have a prolific solo career and, with his wife, created “Ozzfest,” the world’s biggest annual metal concert.

 

Notorious for his drug use, Osbourne assumed that was the reason he was begining to experience tremors. In 2003, he canceled a European tour saying that the tremors were preventing him from living a normal life. Tests for Parkinson’s Disease came up negative.

 

But two years later he was diagnosed with an affliction similar in name and symptoms — Parkin’s disease. Since, he has scaled back his musical endeavors, first ceasing to perform at Ozzfest and then cancelling the tour all together.

 

While he may not be up for touring, Osbourne, who welcomed viewers into his home on MTV’s "The Osbournes," will return to TV for a FOX variety show. "The Osbournes: Loud and Dangerous" — featuring Osbourne, his wife and two of his kids — will have musical performances, comedy sketches and game-show contests.

 

MICHAEL J. FOX

Parkinson’s Disease 

Unlike most afflicted celebrities, Fox’s shift out of the limelight has been largely self-imposed. He first ascended to prominence as Alex Keaton on NBC’s “Family Ties,” a role that earned him three Emmys and a Golden Globe.

 

It was in 1990, while filming the romantic comedy “Doc Hollywood,” that Fox first noticed a tremor in his left little finger. A year later, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

 

Fox kept his illness private and continued to act — until 1998, during his run as the star of the successful “Spin City" series. He continued on the show until 2000, when the effects of his illness had become more severe.

 

Fox has remained in semi-retirement. He returns to acting at times in guest starring roles on TV shows — most recently, a five-show arc on Denis Leary’s "Rescue Me. But he has not sought out anything permanent.

 

MARY BETH MCDONOUGH

Lupus 

Lupus sufferer McDonough may have had more success than most chronically ill actors, but she has been vocal about blaming Hollywood for getting the disease in the first place.

 

After “The Waltons” ended in 1981, McDonough struggled to find good jobs. She was advised to get breast implants to improve her image. At first, the idea scared her, but eventually she gave in and had the surgery in the mid ’80s.

 

She immediately began to see rashes break out on her chest, and she continued getting sicker over the next several years. Debilitated and depressed, her acting career slowed to a halt, and in the mid-90s she had the implants removed.

 

Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with lupus. Since then, however, she has netted a series of guest-starring roles on shows like "West Wing" and "Boston Legal," and most recently scored a recurring role on "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

 

TERI GARR

Multiple Sclerosis 

Daughter of a vaudeville performer, comedian and actor, Garr had a series of breakout roles beginning in the mid-1970s, including “The Conversation,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” In 1982 she got a supporting actress Academy Award nomination for “Tootsie.”

 

Soon after, she began to suffer symptoms of MS, such as tripping while jogging. As her problems worsened, she went to a series of doctors, and almost every one gave her a different diagnosis.

 

Finally, in 1999, a doctor finally correctly diagnosed her. She did not say anything publicly until she appeared on Larry King in 2002 — and since her public admission, she has gotten little to no acting work. She has credited the change both to her disease and her age.

 

NAOMI JUDD

Hepatitis C 

Until she was diagnosed in 1990, Judd and her daughter Wynonna sold more than 20 million albums and videos — even though she’d unknowingly had hepatitis C for the previous eight years. Her doctors gave her only three years to live, and Judd decided to retire after a farewell tour.

 

She continues to defy her doctor’s grim estimate and has said she is now completely cured.

 

In 1999, she starred in the film “A Holiday Romance” with Andy Griffith, and a year later toured with her Wynonna in a reunion tour. She began hosting a morning talk show on the Hallmark Channel in 2005 called “Naomi’s New Morning,” which lasted two seasons.