Signed photo of Garr in the 1970s
|Born||Terry Ann Garr
December 11, 1947
(year of birth disputed; other years cited include 1944, 1945 and 1949)
Lakewood, Ohio, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, dancer, singer, comedian|
|Years active||1963â€“2007 (hiatus)|
|Spouse(s)||John O’Neil (1993â€“1996)|
|Partner(s)||Roger Birnbaum (1979â€“1983)
David Kipper (1983â€“1990)
I danced in a company of 'West Side Story' when I was very young. It was most of the original cast – Larry Kert, Chita Rivera – and Jerry Robbins directed. It was tough, a wonderful initiation for me.
I have heard all kinds of stories about telling employers about MS and I really don't know what the answer is. I am a private person, but I have found support by talking to fellow MSrs in the community.
I've always had this American-pie face that would get work in commercials… I'd say things like, 'Hi, Marge, how's your laundry?' and 'Hi, I'm a real nice Georgia peach.' Sometimes this work is one step above being a cocktail waitress.
My doctor said, for want of a better word, now that we've got medicines out here that can help, let's put you on one of them and say we're treating MS.
I think there are a lot of myths about MS, and it may have affected my career.
I recently saw the movie about Ray Charles, and there's a scene where he falls down and the mother doesn't help him. She says, I don't want anyone to treat you like a cripple. I've fallen down before, and Molly will say, get up and just go.
There were symptoms that I saw, and though I went to many doctors and had many tests, no one diagnosed MS.
Usually, the extras have a different mentality. I had the mentality of an artist, because I was a 'ballet-rina.' But most extras are out to make a fast buck for nothing. They're 'atmosphere.'
I go to my physical therapist to keep fighting it and one of them told me if you don't use it, you lose it, but I know we're on television so I won't say what I would often say.
Going to dancing school, or being in a play, is a very familial feeling. You're around friends.
I think eventually they're going to find out that MS is like 10 different things. I have a neurological disease something like MS, and it's MS, so let's take medicine for it.
Oddly enough, MS has made my life so much better than it was before. I now appreciate what I have and I am not running around like a rat in a maze.
Being sensitive to the problem of women is just another symptom of the quality of movies: I don't think you can do anything that's very sensitive. Everything's sort of broad strokes and big gestures – adventure things that boys, guys want to see.
In addition to having a good partnership with a good doctor, you have to do some of the work yourself. Go online, read about it, and find out what you can tolerate.
I'm wondering if they haven't reported all the people with MS, because if all of the cases were reported, the government would have to step in and give more financial aid to us.
I have been off the motorcycles for about 20 years now, but that doesn't mean I can't still do it.
People aren't so interested in seeing movies about women's problems.
If you get a diagnosis, get on a therapy, keep a good attitude and keep your sense of humor.
You have to find out what's right for you, so it's trial and error. You are going to be all right if you accept realistic goals for yourself.
You can keep it to yourself, but you could also call a support team like the team at MS LifeLines. They are there to support the MS community and give good advice.
When you hear the word 'disabled,' people immediately think about people who can't walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted. But I find the real disability is people who can't find joy in life and are bitter.
Any movie I've ever made, the minute you walk on the set they tell you who's the person to buy it from.
Someday they may cure MS, that idiot thing. It gets in there and they can't get it out.
I was in an acting class taught by Eric Morris, and Jack Nicholson was in the class. He wrote the script for 'Head', so all of us in the class got little tiny parts in the movie.
There are things that you can do today that, years ago, there was nothing. The community today needs to know that with MRI and the current medications the view is good.
With this disease it is so easy to throw in the towel, and that is the worst thing we can do.
I don't consider that I have to judge any of the movies I make all the time, but people are always asking me, 'What's your favorite movie?' And I never know what to say.
I understand how hard it is to talk to people about MS. You don't want pity or random advice.
I have worked enough and I am happy to be touring the country speaking about living with MS to give people inspiration and motivation to help themselves.
I refused David Letterman's proposal of marriage for obvious reasons, but thanks for asking.