10 Celebrities with Rheumatoid Arthritis

The HealthCentral Editorial Team | Nov 29, 2012

Reviewed by Diane M. Horowitz, MD

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Camryn Manheim

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Camryn Manheim, best known for her role as Ellenor Frutt on the law drama TV show “The Practice,” spoke out about her struggle with rheumatoid arthritis in 2005 in People magazine. Diagnosed at 44, Camryn experienced stiffness, pain and fatigue, all tell-tale signs of rheumatoid arthritis, but wasn’t diagnosed for eight months.

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Kathleen Turner

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Kathleen Turner, a famous actress who was at the height of her career in the 1980s, with films such as “Romancing the Stone,” “Body Heat” and “Peggy Sue Got Married,” was diagnosed with RA in the 1990s. In 2002 she spearheaded an RA awareness campaign to educate about the disease.

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James Coburn

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James Coburn (1928-2002) was a famous actor particularly in the 1960s, where he appeared in many action and western movies, such as “The Magnificent Seven” and “The Great Escape.” In the arthritis world, Coburn was known for making grand statements about curing his rheumatoid arthritis with alternative treatments.

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Rosalind Russell

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Rosalind Russell (1907-1976) was a famous stage and movie actress, who rose to fame in the 1930s. Her most notable performances were in the movies “His Girl Friday” and “Auntie Mame.” She was also nominated for five Golden Globes and won all of them. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1969, and died of breast cancer with complications from her RA in 1976.

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Lucille Ball

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Lucille Ball (1911-1989), a legend in the comedy world, who was known for her physical comedy and energy playing Lucy on" I Love Lucy," also struggled with rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 17.

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Aida Turturro

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Best known for her role as Tony Soprano’s sister Janice on the HBO show, “The Sopranos,” Turturro teamed up with the Arthritis Foundation as a national spokesperson for rheumatoid arthritis in 2000. Turturro was diagnosed with RA when she was 12.

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Renoir (1841-1919), the famous 19th century French artist is known for his impressionist paintings. Though his first bout with rheumatoid arthritis struck around 1898, he continued to paint and create artwork his entire life. His RA was severe and crippling, but he found creative ways to paint despite his pain and deformed hands.

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Kristy McPherson

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Kristy McPherson is a professional golfer who was diagnosed with systemic-onset juvenile arthritis at age 11. She is currently playing on the LPGA Tour. She has said she took up golf because after being diagnosed, she was no longer able to play sports that involved running and jumping.

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Meredith Boyd

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Crowned Mrs. Georgia International in 2008, Boyd is now a beauty queen and a spokesperson for the Arthritis Foundation. Diagnosed as a teen, Boyd has had surgery to ease her pain, but cannot take RA meds due to another condition.

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Glenn Frey

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Glenn Frey was known as a founding member of the popular rock band the Eagles. He died in 2016 due to complications of his RA, ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia.