Acclaimed writer and producer Aaron Sorkin opened up to The New York Times about recent health scares in his life.
In November 2022, while Sorkin, 61, was working on his Broadway adaptation of Camelot, he suffered a stroke so severe, his doctor told him he’s “supposed to be dead”.
Following the stroke, his speech was slurred and his writing capabilities were hindered.
“For about a month afterward, [Sorkin] was slurring words. He had trouble typing; he was discouraged from flying for a few weeks; and until recently, he couldn’t sign his name (he has just discovered, thanks to Camelot autograph seekers, that that’s improving),” the Times wrote. “Those issues are now behind him, and the main lingering effect is that he still can’t really taste food.”
“There was a minute when I was concerned that I was never going to be able to write again, and I was concerned in the short-term that I wasn’t going to be able to continue writing Camelot,” Sorkin admitted to the publication.
The likely cause of his stroke, Sorkin says, was his many years of heavy smoking, starting when he was in high school and at one point, consisting of finishing two packs a day.
“Mostly it was a loud wake-up call,” he said. “I thought I was one of those people who could eat whatever he wanted, smoke as much as he wanted, and it’s not going to affect me. Boy, was I wrong.”
Initially, Sorkin didn’t want his stroke to go on record for his interview with the Times, but he decided he would reveal the incident publicly because “if it’ll get one person to stop smoking, then it’ll be helpful.”
The West Wing creator said he has since quit smoking and has started a new diet and exercise routine.
Despite the setbacks this health scare caused him in his work, Camelot is set to open at New York City’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre on April 13. He also wants to assure people that he is fully capable of continuing his work, saying, “Let me make this very, very clear. I’m fine. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I can’t work. I’m fine.”
Camelot will be his fourth Broadway production, and he is eager to get back to the big screen, as well. He is thinking about writing and directing a “January 6 movie”, but nothing is in motion as of yet.