'Deadwood' Creator David Milch Diagnosed With Alzheimer's

The Emmy-winning writer says he began to suspect he might have the neurological disease several years ago.
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Deadwood creator David Milch revealed he is living with Alzheimer's disease.

The 74-year-old Emmy winner, whose long-awaited Deadwood movie premieres on HBO in May, said in an interview that he had a brain scan last year and was diagnosed with the disease.

"As best I understand it, which is minimally, I have a deterioration in the organization of my brain," Milch told Vulture. "And it's progressive. And in some ways discouraging. In more than some ways — in every way I can think of."

Milch said he began to suspect something was not right several years ago when he and those close to him noticed "imperfect recall and tardy recall and short temper," as he put it. Famous for rewriting dialogue up to the moment cameras rolled, he took a more hands-off approach on the Deadwood movie, with director Daniel Minahan and co-executive producer Regina Corrado overseeing day-to-day production, per Vulture.

Milch has won three Emmy Awards for writing on Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue and a fourth as part of NYPD Blue's producing team when it won best drama series in 1995. He created or co-created Brooklyn South, Big Apple and HBO's John From Cincinnati and Luck.

"We treasure our relationship with David Milch, a beloved and  long-standing member of the HBO family," the network said in a statement. "We honor David’s privacy and stand by his side in every way as he faces this challenge."

The Deadwood movie is set 10 years after the end of the series, which HBO canceled in 2006 after three seasons. Rumors about a wrap-up film have been circulating practically ever since, and the majority of the sprawling cast reunited to film the movie in late 2018. It's set to premiere May 31.

Milch told Vulture he intends to keep writing, though he didn't offer the publication specifics about future work. His wife, Rita, said Milch's career as a writer has made him well prepared for Alzheimer's therapy: "The brain is David's most exercised muscle."