Multiple Sclerosis: Famous People With MS in the United States

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system leading to nerve damage to the brain and spinal cord. Although multiple sclerosis affects every patient differently, the disease itself can lead to an inability to move freely, poor communication skills and loss of bladder and bowel control.

MS can severely affect sexual function in men, leading to erectile dysfunction and impotence. On the other hand, erectile dysfunction predisposes men to poor libido and problems with erection.

Throughout history, there are valiant people who are able to go public after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. They have also raised the spirits of their fellow MS sufferers and, are able to educate the public about multiple sclerosis.

Here are some famous faces of multiple sclerosis that have raised awareness about the disorder:

Annette Funicello (1942)

Annette Funicello was one of Disney’s original “Mouseketeers” in the 1950’s. She also became the famous teen idol in many films including “The Shaggy Dog and Babes in Toyland”. She also released several hit songs as a recording artist and became a beach icon in several films with Frankie Avalon.

Later in life, Annette Funicello became a popular spokesperson for several household products. Annette was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late ‘80s. Although she was afraid to be misunderstood by the public, due to her shaky appearance with alcoholism.

Annette Funicello prefers to expose her problems with multiple sclerosis. To battle MS, she established “The Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders” at the California Community Foundation in 1993.

Richard Pryor (1940 – 2005)

Richard Pryor has been called the “Picasso of our profession” by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. He was popular in transforming American comedy through his frank discussion of race, contemporary issues, drugs and his personal life.

In addition, Richard Pryor starred in several hit films including Stir Crazy and Bustin’ Loose and The Toy. He co-wrote one of the most revered comedies of all time known as the Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles.

However, Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. Toward the end of his life, he quoted as saying “the drugs didn’t kill me, the fire didn’t kill me and my ex-wives didn’t kill me. However, there is no way I’m going to let the multiple sclerosis kill me.”

Montel Williams (1956)

Montel Williams is the first African American enlisted Marine to complete and graduate both the Academy Prep School and Annapolis. After his military career in 1991, he went on to host the Daytime Emmy-award winning, nationally-syndicated Montel Williams Show which ran for 17 years.

In 1999, Montel was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In an effort to raise funds for MS research, Montel created “The Montel Williams MS Foundation”. He is also committed to increased awareness and raised funds for multiple sclerosis research.

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