Famous People with Lupus

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Ray Walston

Birth:   Nov. 2, 1914
New Orleans
Orleans Parish
Louisiana, USA
Death:   Jan. 1, 2001
Beverly Hills
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Versatile film and television Actor, whose work includes, "My Favorite Martian." He died in Beverly Hills, California, following a six year battle with lupus. He won a Tony for "water Yankees" (1958) and two Emmys. Born Herman Walston in Laurel, Louisiana, (some biographies give his birth place as New Orleans), he grew up in New Orleans, and started his acting career with a local stock company. His big break came in 1939, when he was cast in "The Front Page."

 He is remembered in such films as "South Pacific" (1958), "The Apartment" (1960), "Paint Your Wagon" (1969), "The Sting" (1973), and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982). All total, he appeared in 70 films and numerous television programs, including a three year run as Uncle Martin in TV's "My Favorite Martian" (1963-1966).

He won two Emmy Awards for his role in TV's "Picket Fence." His television roles include guest appearances on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Voyager", "Touched by an Angel", "7th Heaven", "Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman", "L.A. Law", "Night Court", "Starsky and Hutch", "Mission Impossible", and numerous other television shows.

His only staring role in a film came in 1964, when Peter Sellers was felled by a heart attack, and he was selected to replace him in "Kiss Me, Stupid" as a desperate songwriter


 Georgeanna Marie Tillman

Birth:   Feb. 6, 1943
Death:   Jan. 6, 1980
R&B Singer. She was a member of the 1960s all-girl musical group "The Marvelettes". The group formed in Inkster, Michigan, in 1960, and at times featured Gladys Horton, Wanda Young, Katharine Anderson, Anne Bogan, and Juanita Cowart.

 The group recorded on the Motown Record Label and the Tamla Record Label, while recording songs written by the likes of Smokey Robinson. In 1961 the group had there first hit with the release of, "Please, Mr. Postman," and a somewhat chart-topping hit in 1965 with the release of, "I'll Keep Holding On." The group continued to record music but broke up in the early 1970s. Tillman passed away at the age of 36 from the effects of lupus or sickle cell anemia

Charles Kuralt

Birth:   Sep. 10, 1934
Death:   Jul. 4, 1997
Television Journalist. He is best remembered for his series, "On the Road." He won 3 Peabody Awards and 11 Emmy Awards for his reporting. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of a social worker and a teacher, as a young boy he began his journalist career when he won an American Legion essay contest and a trip to Washington DC to meet President Harry Truman.

During his college years, he worked as student editor for the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill newspaper "The Daily Tar Heel."
While at UNC he would write on controversial topics and interview student radicals, and he campaigned for racial integration when it wasn't popular in the South. On April Fools Day 1954, he printed a parody edition of "The Daily Tar Heel," which lampooned Senator Joseph McCarthy and the anti-communist crusaders, which won him a file in the FBI's local office.

After graduating from college, he joined CBS as a news journalist, and was assigned to the Rio de Janeiro office. Rather than sit in his Rio office, he went out and interviewed the people, ranging from generals to rebels, peasants and politicians, including the mundane with the international crisis. In April 1962, he went to Cuba, where his report mostly considered Fidel Castro's revolution a failure, despite several promising changes. Accused of praising Castro and Cuban Communism, he was called upon to testify in July 1962 at the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, where he was cleared of any charges of boosting Castro's regime. Reassigned to the United States, Kuralt did manage to go to the Dominican Republic to report on the American intervention there in 1965, and his reports from there were considered some of his best.

In 1967, during the Vietnam War when much of the news very negative, he began a series called "On the Road," which interviewed mostly ordinary people, telling stories of American life. Kuralt died in New York City of lupus, an inflammatory disease that attacks the joints, kidneys and nervous system. His CBS colleague, Walter Cronkite, summed up Kuralt's life when he stated, "There probably wasn't a more patriotic or loving man in television or the country than Charles."


Mary McDonough has entertained audiences for more than 30 years on film, stage and television. She is most remembered for her role as "Erin" in "The Waltons." For over 25 years, television audiences have grown up with this 1930s family, struggling through a depression on Walton’s mountain. New audiences are still discovering the entire Walton family, with this Emmy Award winning show in specials and syndication.

In recent years, Mary has begun working behind the camera producing independent film projects, but her first love is still acting.

She maintains a very busy work regimen, and has appeared in numerous guest roles on such television series as Promised Land, Diagnosis Murder, ER, The Pretender, One Life to Live, General Hospital, and Picket Fences. Mary is also found regularly in roles on stage, in feature films, and made-for-TV movies.

In the late 1970’s the Lupus Foundation of America asked Mary to serve as a celebrity spokesperson. Lupus is a chronic disease that, for unknown reasons, causes the immune system to become hyperactive and attack the body’s own tissue and organs. At least 1.4 million Americans have Lupus, 90% of whom are women.

At the time she did not have lupus, nor was there a history of the disease anywhere in her family. She did not even know anyone who had lupus. So why, you might ask, did the Lupus Foundation want her to serve in this role? They thought she would be a good choice because she was in the age group (15 - 44) when women usually begin to develop symptoms of lupus.

She learned all that she could about lupus and spoke about the disease on television and in interviews with writers for news magazines. During her travels for the Lupus Foundation of America, she met many amazing, strong, and inspirational women who had the disease. The women she met were not just coping with Lupus, but were leading full and productive lives. She started to experience symptoms of lupus about eight years before a doctor finally diagnosed her with the disease. It is not unusual for people with lupus to suffer symptoms for several years because the disease is so hard to diagnose. There is no single test that can tell if a person has lupus.

When the symptoms first began, she just had the feeling of being "off." Mary did not have the same drive and energy she used to have. Later, she noticed a few rashes on her face, chest and back. She went to several doctors who dismissed her symptoms as anything serious.

Mary decided to see a dermatologist because a red rash had developed on her face, across her cheeks and the bridge of her nose. The dermatologist treated the rash but never linked it to any specific cause.

Unfortunately, she since has learned that many fine doctors are unaware of the complexities of Lupus and how its many symptoms can mimic other common, but less serious illnesses.

Mary’s "off" feeling continued for several years eventually turning into extreme fatigue. The overwhelming exhaustion would come on like a freight train. She would want to lie down wherever she was and nap. She describes it as having VERY bad jet lag, the kind where you are very tired at strange times of the day as if you were drugged.

Mary also felt as if she had the flu, however it never went into a full blown flu and the symptom lasted for several weeks. Even her hair hurt like when a person has a very bad fever. The doctors also wrote these symptoms off as the flu.

No two people with Lupus have exactly the same symptoms and most do not experience all of them. The symptoms of Lupus include achy or swollen joints, fevers, fatigue, skin rashes, anemia, chest pains on breathing deep, hair loss, fingers turning blue in the cold, seizures, and mouth or nose ulcers.

As the years progressed, she experienced several of these symptoms. Mary knew something was wrong with her even though many different doctors never diagnosed her with anything out of the ordinary.

She started to feel as if she was a hypochondriac and doctors began to treat her as though she was a big cry baby. This made her feel even worse. She thought, "Maybe I am being a big baby." "Maybe I’m fine and I am only depressed." Mary started to go to therapy. Unfortunately, the symptoms continued.

She began to get sick after sun exposure, called photosensitivity. Her eyes became so sun sensitive that she had to forget going out into the sun without protection. SPF-40 sun block became her constant companion. Mary’s joints started to ache very badly and her muscles felt as if they had needles piercing through them. The extreme fatigue continued to drain her of all energy.

At this point, she was both lucky and unlucky at the same time. She was involved in a car accident and ruptured a disk in her back. Mary went to physical therapy and to a chiropractor but she did not get better. Her chiropractor decided she needed to see an orthopedic doctor.

Ironically, after going to several doctors, it was the orthopedic doctor who told her that she had too many symptoms to attribute them just to a bad back. She ordered a series of laboratory tests used to diagnose Lupus. The test results revealed that she had an elevated level of antibodies that attack the body’s own cells. Finally, she had a clue that something was wrong with her.

Mary went to see a Rheumatologist but she did not diagnose her with Lupus right away.

During this time Mary had another mixed blessing. In 1991, she became pregnant. A woman with Lupus often has no symptoms of the disease while she is pregnant. Unfortunately, she did not know, at the time, that the disease can flare up in a woman immediately after she gives birth. She had a horrible post birth experience lasting five months. Once again she thought it was just her and she was crazy to think something was wrong. Especially since her obstetrician said she was not "adjusting well to motherhood." "Perhaps he was right?" She felt like a horrible failure.

Mary pleaded with her Rheumatologist to explain why she was feeling so sick all of the time. She waited for several more years feeling as if she was crazy while being monitored by her doctor. After years of suffering horrible symptoms and emotional devastation, she finally received a diagnosis of Lupus.

Later, Mary found another rheumatologist in Los Angeles, Dr. Daniel Wallace, and read his wonderful book on the disease called "THE LUPUS BOOK." It helped her to understand lupus and how doctors can treat it. She began to take medications and she started to feel better than she had in many years.

Mary prefers to use a natural healing process. She tried practically every multi-level marketing concoction available including creams, herbs and vitamins. Unfortunately, some of them made her feel worse. Several drugs, herbs and foods can harm people with Lupus by causing the disease to flare. People with Lupus must consult with their doctor before beginning to use complementary therapies.

In addition to Lupus, Mary has Fibromyalgia (painful muscles) and Sjogrens Symptom (a collagen disorder causing dry mouth, eyes or skin). She is now under the care of a great doctor whom she trusts and feels safe. This is so important for her and has made a big difference in her health. She no longer feels crazy.

When Mary first "came out" about her Lupus, people told her that she should keep quiet for fear that It would ruin her career. They told her to keep it a secret because employers are afraid to hire sick people. Well, she couldn’t do that--it’s not her way.

It’s ironic. Mary began her association with lupus while a young actress serving as a "celebrity spokesperson" to educate people about the disease. Who could have imagined, at that time, that she would be doing the same thing as an adult actress, only this time speaking from personal experience. Mary can educate people about Lupus much better now because of all that she has been through with the disease.

Barbara Enright 
Legendary Female Poker Player 
Barbara Enright, is a legend among poker players.  She is the quintessence of a woman who championed her way into a once-dominated field of masculinity, and gained respect and a wide array of elite accomplishments along the way.

She began playing poker when she was a mere four years old.  She used to play five card draw with her older brother, and when he would win, she would cry. Barbara has come a long way since that time and holds the record of many firsts for women in poker. 

She is the only female to date that has ever made the final table at the World Series of Poker championship event, when she came in fifth in 1995.  She is also the only woman to ever win an all around best player award, when she won that title at in the Legends of Poker in 2000, and she is the first woman to ever win a championship in a World Series of Poker major open event when she won the Pot Limit Hold’em event in 1996.

Barbara has three World Series of Poker championship bracelets among her long list of poker achievements and awards. 

In 1976, Barbara was diagnosed of having Lupus, a disease that affects the immune system, but her energy and spontaneity is that of a teenager, and her disease is not something that many are aware of.

  In 2005, Barbara beat out 95 percent of the field in the World Series of Poker main event.  She won her way into the 10,000 buyin through a $10 online satellite, and won over 24 thousand dollars.

She recently was the technical director for National Lampoon’s Strip Poker, can be seen in an upcoming production called “Poker Faces, “ and will be featured on GSN”s Poker Royale: Battle of Ages.

She has been a tournament host, and has appeared as a guest on “A Current Affair,” “Inside Edition,” and a discovery channel’s “High Roller.”

Barbara is also an accomplished writer, and a motivational speaker.  She is the editor-in-chief of Woman Poker Player magazine, and is well known for her humorous anecdotes, and leading women to be more assertive both on the felt, and in life.

Died Apr. 2, 2005

Actress June Easton died of lupus at age 72. Ms. Easton was the wife of actor Robert Easton. She was a dialect coach at her husband’s firm "Henry Higgins of Hollywood Inc." Robert Easton is considered one of the top dialect coaches in the film industry. He teaches over 80 different dialects. Clients have include such greats as Laurence Olivier and Gregory Peck. Ms. Easton appeared in several films with her husband including "Paint Your Wagon," "Tai-Pan" and "Timber Tramps."


Michael Wayne stands beneath a statue of his father, actor John Wayne, outside the Great Western Building in Los Angeles, in this June 17, 1991 file photo. Wayne, the eldest son of late actor John Wayne who helped produce several of his father's films,died April 2, 2003. He was 68.

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) - Michael Wayne, the eldest son of late actor John Wayne who helped produce several of his father's films, has died. He was 68.

Wayne died of heart failure Wednesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center following complications from lupus, an immune system disease, publicist Warren Cowan said Thursday.
He was the head of Wayne Enterprises, which owns many of his father's films. Distributing the movies and merchandising his father's image occupied much of Wayne's time, along with real estate and other investments. He also was chairman of the board of the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center. John Wayne died of lung cancer in 1979.

He said in 1991 that there were both advantages and drawbacks of having such a famous father, but "the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. I produced 'McClintock!' when I was 25 years old. I don't think if I wasn't John Wayne's son, I would have had that opportunity. It wasn't all smooth, working with my father; there were a lot of bumps along the way, both for him and me," he said. "But I wish he were still around so we could get in arguments."

Among the films Michael Wayne helped produce were "Brannigan" (1975), "The Green Berets" (1968), "Big Jake" (1971) and "The Train Robbers" (1973). Wayne graduated from Loyola University of California in 1956 and served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Gretchen; his mother, Josephine Alicia Saenz; two brothers; three sisters; five children; and two grandchildren. [/b]


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