Bald, zany actor Richard Moll told Congress today of his 85-year-old father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, offering dramatic support for legislation that would expand research into the disorder.
“It’s a very frustrating disease,” said Moll, the towering bailiff on NBC’s “Night Court,” in testimony before the House Select Committee on Aging on behalf of the Los Angeles chapter of the Alzheimer’s Assn. “During my infrequent visits to my parents’ house,” the actor recalled, “I would hear my father mutter something like, ‘Humpty Dumpty.’ That’s one of the symptoms of the disease. The sufferer sometimes harks back to the phrases of childhood.”
Moll criticized a “real lack” of services available for families caring for patients at home as well as a “serious shortage of nursing homes specializing” in the care of victims. Committee Chairman Edward R. Roybal said he and fellow California Democrats Fortney H. (Pete) Stark and Henry A. Waxman were introducing legislation today to increase federal funding for Alzheimer’s research from $120 million in this fiscal year to $500 million by 1992.