May 30, 2019
In 2013, “Deadwood” showrunner David Milch was in New York City, toiling on a TV pilot, when he suddenly couldn’t remember where he parked his car.
It wasn’t the first sign of trouble: Words, the “NYPD Blue” co-creator noticed, had been coming to him unusually slowly. Friends and family had noticed a shift in his temper. He was struggling to keep plotlines straight in his writing projects.
In April, Milch, now 74, told reporters that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The degenerative condition, thought to be caused by protein-based plaque that forms in the brain and disrupts cell function, affects 10 percent of the population over age 65.
Milch, whose gritty Western “Deadwood: The Movie” debuts Friday on HBO, was diagnosed relatively early - probably because his career spotlit signs of the disease.
“When you’re retired, you may not recognize symptoms the way you do when you are working,” Dr. Lawrence Honig, professor of neurology at Columbia University, tells The Post.
Milch - despite bouts of “self pity” - seems set on throwing himself into work: He’s still writing every day, and working on a memoir with assistants’ help.