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What disease does Sam Waterston have?

What disease does Sam Waterston have? Does Sam Waterston have Parkinson’s?


When you’ve had a career that has lasted more than 60 years, you know you’re doing something right.

In Hollywood, a career spanning 6 years is impressive enough, but to do it for more than 6 decades?

That takes somebody truly talented, which is precisely what Sam Waterston is.

When you’re as talented and as famous as Sam Waterston, it’s safe to say that leading a private personal life is not easy.

Rumors are bound to begin circulating, and news that should be kept private often is anything but.

Now, Sam is in great shape, and he keeps himself busy, but considering he is in his 80s, his health is often the topic of conversation.

Rumors began circulating in 2022 that the award-winning Law & Order actor had suffered a stroke, though this proved not to be the case.

Knowing something was wrong, however, people began wondering which mystery illness or condition he did have.

So, what disease does Sam Waterston have?

Keep on reading for the answer.

Who is Sam Waterston?

sam waterston disability


Sam Waterston is a national treasure in the United States of America and is one of the most respected actors in the entertainment industry, past and present.

He was born Samuel Atkinson Waterston, in Massachusetts, on November 15th, 1940. He is an actor, TV producer, director, performer, and multi-award winner.

He has appeared in more than 80 TV and movie productions and is perhaps best known for his work on Law & Order, which is still a classic to this day.

His career, however, goes back much further than that, as he first started performing in 1962.

Film, TV, and Stage Career

does sam waterson have parkinson's

Sam Waterston and Katherine Waterston – @Getty

As mentioned, Sam first started performing in 1962, aged just 22.

He began his career appearing on the New York stage, after studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, along with the American Actors Workshop.

Sam began his career in theatre, appearing in multiple showings of Shakespeare’s work.

As the years went by, he gained more and more experience and appeared in multiple plays, and multiple theatres.

As he progressed as an actor, Sam began starring alongside other huge names in Hollywood, including Raul Julia, Meryl Streep, and James Woods.

In 1994, Sam got the itch to appear on the small screen, and was cast as Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy in Law & Order.

sam waterston disability

Sam Waterston looks on in a scene for the 20th Century Fox movie “Warning Sign” circa 1985 – @Getty

He appeared in the fifth season, and his character proved to be a huge hit with audiences right away. McCoy gradually progressed up the rankings and soon became DA (District Attorney) himself.

He played the character until the season finale in 2010, as well as in other shows in the Law & Order franchise.

In 2021, after the show was rebooted following its cancellation, he would again reprise his role.

Along with Law & Order, he has also appeared in a selection of other popular TV shows, including The Newsroom, and the 2015 Netflix series Grace and Frankie.

Sam received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor following his performance in the critically-acclaimed Killing Fields in 1984. He would also receive a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a play, Primetime Emmy Award nominations, Golden Globe Award nominations, and many more besides.

In 2012, Sam was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame, while in 2010, he received the 2,397th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

What Disease Does Sam Waterston Have?

sam waterston disease


In 2022, fans of Sam became concerned after reports emerged stating that the actor had suffered a stroke.

Fortunately, those rumors were not true, but even so, rumors continued to emerge, with people speculating about his health.

In July of 2022, however, another rumor began circulating, which stated that Sam had apparently confirmed in an interview with CBS This Morning TV News, that he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

Needless to say, when his fans read these articles, they grew concerned for Sam’s Health.

A search online, however, reveals that such an interview never took place, and with no credible sources to back up these claims, there is no evidence to suggest that Sam is, in fact, suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

It is likely that this rumor began after Sam did appear to be slurring his speech slightly, and was perhaps shaking slightly in some public appearances.

sam waterston health condition

Sam Waterston visits AOL BUILD Series to talk about the new IFC film “Anesthesia” – @Getty

This caused people to ask, ‘what disease does Sam Waterston have?’ despite there being no concrete evidence that he was unwell at all.

The articles online stated that Sam had admitted that he had been diagnosed a couple of years prior, but that his case was mild and that he was in a very stable condition, and that it would not affect his acting or his day-to-day living.

These reports, however, are unconfirmed as there doesn’t appear to be a link to the alleged CBS interview online.

READ MORE: How many children did Lee Williams have?

What is Parkinson’s Disease? 

Just to help set your minds at ease slightly more, we’ll now take a look at what Parkinson’s Disease really is, so we can understand more about how it could be affecting Sam.

Parkinson’s Disease is a medical condition affecting the brain, causing parts of the brain to suffer damage.

It is caused by a loss of nerve cells in a part of the brain known as the ‘Substantia Nigra,’ which results in suppressed production of dopamine.

Dopamine not only regulates your mood, but it also plays a key role in numerous physiological processes, including those which influence movement and coordination.

People that suffer from the disease often show symptoms such as: shaking, slurred speech, slow movement, balance, and coordination issues.

Despite the condition usually affecting people in their elderly years, the disease can also affect younger people as well.

Perhaps the most famous case of Parkinson’s Disease is actor Michael J. Fox, of the Back to the Future movies.

The good news is that Sam’s case is not confirmed, so for now, it’s safe to assume that he does not have any underlying health issues or mystery illnesses.  

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