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Oscar stars who've had strokes
February 11th, 2011
12:30 PM ET

Oscar stars who've had strokes

Hollywood stars, they’re just like us – in that they're vulnerable to common ailments that plague the rest of Americans.

Researchers at the UCLA Stroke Center analyzed the frequency and impact of stroke among Best Actor and Best Actress Oscar nominees from 1927 through 2009.

Of the 409 actors and actresses, 7.3% suffered strokes and 9.5% had heart attacks. To little surprise, the health events affected the thespians’ appearances on TVs and movies for about a three-year period after the stroke.Heart attacks are the most common cause of death (616,000 deaths) and strokes are the third most common (136,000), according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The average age of nominees at their first stroke was 67.

Here are some of the names in the findings presented at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference.

Notable Oscar nominees and winners who suffered strokes include:

  • Mary Pickford (winner, 1929)
  • Bette Davis (nominee, 1934; winner, 1935)
  • James Cagney (nominee, 1938; winner 1942)
  • Cary Grant (nominee, 1942)
  • Kirk Douglas (nominee, 1950)
  • Richard Burton (nominee, 1954)
  • Grace Kelly (winner, 1954)
  • Elizabeth Taylor (nominee, 1957, winner 1960)
  • Patricia Neal (winner, 1963)
  • Dudley Moore (nominee, 1982)
  • James Garner (nominee, 1985)
  • Sharon Stone (nominee, 1995)

Strokes are highly preventable with a healthy diet, controlled blood pressure and cholesterol.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.