Robin Williams and Hollywood’s illness stigma – [latimes.com]
Medical illness is a strange thing when it comes to Hollywood. Addiction is a subject people will talk about often and freely; there’s hardly a week that goes by without a celebrity “opening up” about their struggles.
That’s far from the case with illness. Nora Ephron kept her battle with leukemia secret up until her death. Michael J. Fox didn’t disclose his Parkinson’s for seven years after his diagnosis. Patrick Swayze continued to downplay reports of his cancer until his condition had deteriorated irrevocably in 2009.
In part this is all for a very simple, practical reason — like many people, a lot of actors want to continue working when they become ill, and everything from casting to insurance becomes trickier once disease enters the picture. Fox worked for a good chunk of those seven years without anyone the wiser.