So, I'm faced with a choice. In my relentless pursuit of pageviews, should I begin writing reams of personal abuse about Mr Watson, or simply continue to shine a spotlight on the other pituitary ademoaners of the world?
I choose the latter option, and not just because of Britain's vast and unyielding libel laws.*
And so, I present:
A Panoply of Pituitary Problems, or: More Famous People With Lumps In Their Head.
Once again I must apologise for the preponderance of people with acromegaly on this list! Acromegaly is an extremely rare illness, caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland which produces excessive growth hormone. However, acromegaly's symptoms are so visually striking that, especially if the illness occurs in childhood - when it will lead to massive growth in height (gigantism), as well as the growth of soft tissue and bone which occur in adult acromegaly - its sufferers are very visible. So-called "giants" are in demand for certain roles in the film and television industry, as well as certain sports where their height gives them an advantage. Consequently, it's relatively easy to find famous acromegaly sufferers, while celebrities who suffer from other kinds of pituitary adenoma may keep their diagnosis private.
I certainly think that it would be helpful if there were celebrities who were known to have Cushing's, or prolactinoma; it helps sufferers to feel that they're not alone, and emphasizes the fact that, while a pituitary adenoma can be a significant bloody nuisance, it's not the end of the world - and that there are plenty of other people going through the same problems.
Obviously I think it would be awesome if a famous person was known to have a TSH-oma/thyrotropinoma. But if that doesn't happen, well I guess I'll just have to step up to the celebrity line!**
Anyway, back to the point. Presenting:
Carel Struycken is an actor and an acromegaly sufferer; he stands seven foot tall. Born in the Netherlands in 1948, he's now 63 years old. You might recognise him from playing Lurch in the Addams Family films (click here for a picture!); he's also appeared in Star Trek: the Next Generation, Men In Black, and even Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band. According to my trusty Wikipedia, he's interested in photography and the development of virtual reality systems. A pretty cool guy by all standards!
Richard Kiel is another well-known actor who suffers from acromegaly; his most famous role was as Jaws in the James Bond films. He's now largely retired, although he voiced a character in the animated film Tangled which came out in 2010, and he's written two books; one a memoir entitled Making It Big In The Movies, the second a historical novel co-authored with Pamela Wallace, about the life of Cassius Marcellus Clay, a 19th-Century abolitionist.
Scott Hamilton, the Olympic gold medallist figure skater, is a craniopharyngioma sufferer. I've not previously mentioned craniopharyngiomas, but like pituitary adenomas they're a rare kind of benign pituitary tumour. They cause similar symptoms to pituitary adenomas; they can interfere with hormone production, although they will cause hormone deficits rather than overproduction of pituitary hormones, and they cause headaches and vision loss. They're most common in children and middle-aged adults; Scott Hamilton was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma aged 51. A remarkable guy, Hamilton won four consecutive World Championships and created Stars On Ice.
|Hamilton's last performance on Stars On Ice|
UPDATE: For those of you who just can't get enough of hearing about famous people with pituitary tumours, I've also written a post about famous people with Cushing's Disease, a post about famous women with acromegaly, my original post about Russell Watson that sparked this whole thing off, and my first post about famous tumourheads!
*Russell Watson, I love you.
**Admittedly, I haven't quite worked out how I'll achieve fame. Through my own line of edible greetings cards? By streaking at the London Olympics? For my charitable work with walruses? Ideas on a postcard please.