People with epilepsy have reached the top of their game in every profession – not least in the glamorous world of cinema, television and stage. Some of the most famous actors living with epilepsy have starred in blockbusters, won major awards and become household names all around the world.
4 famous actors living with epilepsy
1. Danny Glover
Born in 1946, Danny Glover is one of the most successful actors in the movie industry. Best-known for his role as Detective Murtaugh in the hugely popular Lethal Weapon movies (1987 – 1998), he has also appeared in several other hit productions like 1985’s The Color Purple, 2004’s Saw and 2007’s Shooter. Glover has been nominated for numerous Primetime Emmy’s and Screen Actors Guild awards, and has also won several NAACP awards for his acting.
Glover had his first epileptic seizure aged 15 and continued to have them for many years. However, in his mid-thirties the seizures stopped – some people whose seizures are controlled by medication and have been seizure-free for years may stop taking medication and remain seizure-free under the guidance of their doctor. Danny Glover has also used his fame to promote epilepsy awareness.
2. Hugo Weaving
He is perhaps best known for playing the terrifying Mister Smith in the Matrix movies but Hugo Weaving has often said he prefers acting on stage. Born in 1960 in Nigeria to English parents, Weaving currently lives in Australia. You might also recognize him from The Lord of The Rings, V for Vendetta and Captain America: The First Avenger. Weaving has also worked as a voice actor on several movies, including Happy Feet.
Not unlike Danny Glover, Weaving had his first epileptic seizure as a teenager (aged 13) then kept having them about once per year until he was 40 when they stopped on their own. For most of his life he took medication to keep his seizures under control.
3. Cameron Boyce
A rising star who found fame on the Disney Channel, Los Angeles actor Cameron Boyce tragically passed away in 2019 aged just 20 from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). Cameron starred in the popular Disney Channel sitcom Jessie before going on to play a major role in the Descendants movie franchise from 2015 to 2019.
Cameron had his first seizure aged 16 while he was asleep and only had five in his entire life. Following his tragic death, Cameron’s parents chose to remember their son by launching The Cameron Boyce Foundation to raise awareness of SUDEP and other causes the star supported.
Read more: Cameron Boyce and SUDEP
4. Richard Burton
Welsh actor Richard Burton (1925 – 1984) started his acting career on stage performing in many Shakespeare plays in London’s West End theatres. He went on to become a major Hollywood star and received several Golden Globes and Tony Awards and was reported to be one of the highest-paid movie stars of all time.
Burton was never officially diagnosed with epilepsy due to his fear of doctors – however many reports suggest he had seizures throughout his adult life.
Celebrated actors with epilepsy
Famous actors living with epilepsy have appeared on the silver screen throughout history - from science fiction to comedies and dramas to action films. Whether they chose to keep their condition private or use their fame to promote causes around epilepsy, these actors show that having epilepsy is no obstacle to achieving global fame.
And cinema isn’t the only place where people with epilepsy have excelled – read more about singers, NFL players and Olympians living with epilepsy.