Healthy Living

Actress Kathleen Turner Keeps Going After Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis

Actress Kathleen Turner Keeps Going After Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis

DSC_6470 by Viva Vivanista (flickr)

Rheumatoid arthritis strikes people from all walks of life. Rich or poor, young and old, it can affect anybody. For actress Kathleen Turner, the disease struck her when her career was still at its prime back in the 90s.

Kathleen Turner was born in Springfield, Missouri in 1954. She studied in Europe at the American School in London and graduated in 1972. As a young adult, she suffered a blow to the family when her father passed away. After the death, she and her family moved back to the United States from London where she began college at the Missouri State University. Several years later and after a transition to the University of Maryland, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

Kathleen hit her lucky break as a young woman

Kathleen wanted to pursue acting, and for a while, she was doing television soap operas. Finally, in 1977, Kathleen made a break in her budding acting career. She was in her first film Body Heat in 1981, starring as the Femme Fatale, Matty Walker. The role brought her huge success and catapulted her career into stardom. It's still remembered as one of the sexiest roles in Hollywood history. Soon after her breakout role, Kathleen followed up the success with several other movies. She was in The Man with Two Brains, Romancing the Stone, The War on the Roses, and many more successful movies.

She also took some risks with her movie roles. In 1984, she starred in a dark and disturbing movie by Ken Russel, called Crimes of Passion. Almost a decade later, she was in John Water's black comedy, Serial Mom. In the 90s, she played the domineering mother in the disturbing film, The Virgin Suicides.

For Turner, her role in "The Virgin Suicides" was the hardest. She was working the movie while her daughter, Rachel, was just about to become a teenager. The movie was sad for her as she would think of her own daughter back at home. It wasn't easy to portray the type of dominating mother running a militarian and abusive household. But Kathleen enjoyed very much working with challenging roles and different experiences.

Disease struck at the most inopportune time in Kathleen's career

Enjoying massive success and fame throughout the mid-80s to early 90s, Kathleen's life took a screeching turn as she was diagnosed with a chronic illness. She had rheumatoid arthritis. The disease was causing her hands to swell up and her joints were very painful. She also found it incredibly difficult to turn her head. The disease was disabling.

How did Kathleen manage both her career and her chronic rheumatoid arthritis?

When the disease struck, Kathleen needed to take it slow in her fast-paced acting career. It wasn't until 2000 when she finally reached remission with her rheumatoid arthritis. At that time, she went right back to the acting stage and played Mrs. Robinson in the film The Graduate. Since then, she has also made some guest appearances in television. True to herself, she played some interesting roles, such as Chandler's gay father in the popular show "Friends", and an eccentric, libido-driven oddball in the hit series "Californication". Turner sure doesn't play things safe!

Despite a terrible diagnosis, Kathleen keeps her head up

Though she has such a debilitating disease, Kathleen says she has many blessings to count on. She loves her work and particularly enjoys playing interesting roles. She has worked with incredible actors such as Bill Hurt, Jack Nicholson, and Danny Devito. She's really made some waves herself as a talented actress and performer in the movie industry.

And she loves to sing!

Though she's not known for her singing, Kathleen loves to sing too. It's another perfect example of how bold Kathleen is, that she's not afraid of taking chances. She's got a smoky, audacious voice and the actress loves to sing her classics. In September, she actually was able to perform some of her classic songs at an intimate venue in Philadelphia.

"Finding My Voice," a cabaret act by Kathleen Turner

Entertaining a small audience, Kathleen performed in her own cabaret show titled "Finding My Voice". She sang beautiful classics like "Since I Fell for You" and "On the Street Where You Live". In between performances, she also delivered some anecdotes to admiring fans.

Turner has been focusing her attention and pursuing her passion for singing. It's not only a challenge, but it's also fun for this femme fatale. She likes intimate settings of smaller venues because she can see her audience as she performs.

Kathleen Turner is an example of someone who doesn't allow her disease to control her life

As a person who lives with chronic rheumatoid arthritis, Kathleen Turner is an inspiration. She is the perfect example of how the debilitating disease can strike anyone at any time. It's hard to suffer from such a terrible autoimmune condition, especially not knowing anyone else who has it. People often may unknowingly be insensitive because they don't understand what you are going through. But hearing stories like Kathleen can help you find a community for support. It's helpful to realize that there are many people just like you that share your experience in pain and suffering. It's a powerful message knowing strong-minded people such as Kathleen also suffering the same pain and discomfort that you are going through.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, go out there and live your life too!

Kathleen is a role model because she doesn't let her disease bring her down. She's still pursuing her passions and has a positive outlook on life despite being dealt the cards of a life-long diagnosis. Having rheumatoid arthritis hasn't taken the Kathleen Turner out of this spunky woman. She's still out there performing songs in front of fans and acting whenever she can. If she can continue living her life in her best way, you can certainly do the same!