Actress Kathleen Turner (b. June 19, 1954) came to fame in the 1980’s after appearing in movies such as “Body Heat”, “Serial Mom”, “Romancing the Stone” (for which she won a Golden Globe Award), and “Prizzi’s Honor”.
Her rising career was halted in the 1990’s, however, when Turner was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
There’s no question that something went terribly wrong for Ms. Turner, but she has over time expanded her explanation of exactly what it was. It’s clear that while shooting “Serial Mom” in 1993 (doing a John Waters film is almost a sure sign of career trauma) she began to suffer what she called “unbearable” pain. By the time she was finally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, she could hardly turn her head or walk, and was told she would end up in a wheelchair. Treated with heavy steroids and chemotherapy, she started looking puffy and unsteady. Rumors began circulating that she was drinking too much. She later said in interviews that she didn’t bother correcting the rumors because people in show business hire drunks all the time, but not people who are sick. Keeping her condition a secret wasn’t easy; during the Broadway run of “Indiscretions” in 1995, she managed to walk up a spectacular three-story stairway in high heels at every performance, but needed five minutes alone at the top to cry. “Working, I could ignore the pain,” she said. “Offstage I couldn’t.” *
Kathleen Turner’s rheumatoid arthritis finally went into remission almost a decade later. The actress returned to making cameo appearances on television shows, and was most recently seen playing a small role in the movie “Marley & Me”.
Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles
For the first time, Turner shares her childhood challenges-a life lived in countries around the world until her father, a State Department official whom she so admired, died suddenly when she was a teenager. She talks about her twenty year marriage, and why she and her husband recently separated, her close relationship with her daughter, her commitment to service, and how activism in controversial causes has bolstered her beliefs. And Turner reveals the pain and heartbreak of her struggle with rheumatoid arthritis, and how, in spite of it, she made a daring decision: to take a break from the movies and relaunch her stage career. *