Wednesday, June 25, 2003
By Lloyd Grove
The Washington Post
Cause celeb Teri Garr has been crusading for better biomedicine ever since she revealed last October that she suffers from multiple sclerosis.
"Basically, I go across the country talking about what it's like living with MS," Garr told us as she got ready to keynote this afternoon's Biotechnology Industry Organization conclave at the Washington Convention Center. "I lived 20 years with having different symptoms and not knowing what they were. When you get diagnosed, you panic for about six months and then you settle down. It's not the end of the world. There are lots of treatments for it. I want to find treatments. That's one of the reasons why I'm here. These people are finding new drugs all the time."
Garr, who takes Rebif, an anti-MS drug developed using gene technology, added: "I always say, 'What is worse in Hollywood? Having MS or being over 50?' Being over 50! It's much worse.'" More seriously, she said she lost work when she confided to a friend that she was going in for tests "and this person told a bunch of other people, and it was all over Hollywood. . . . It's not fair. MS affects everyone differently, but it doesn't affect your brain."
Garr started out as a dancer, memorably played Dustin Hoffman's long-suffering girlfriend in the 1982 hit "Tootsie," and these days appears on "Friends" as the mother of Lisa Kudrow, a comic actress who reminds us of Teri Garr. She's anywhere from 50 to 53, depending on the database, but refuses to clarify. "I'm an actress. We learn in show business that we don't tell our exact age. . . . I'm up there, though."
What about her love life? "I'm divorced with a daughter," she said. "I'm available! Put that out there! They have to be a very, very perfect, though, because I'm a perfect person!"
"I was at a state dinner with Big George. Do we need last names? I don't
think so. I like Big George. I sat at his table and he said when we were
done, 'Take that matchbook cover, honey. It can be a souvenir for your
grandkids.' I don't want to get in a lot of trouble like the Dixie Chicks,
but I have my political views. I think the Bush Administration is doing
the best they can do with what they have to work with."
© 2003 The Washington Post Company