Aaron Sorkin had a stroke but kept it private for months: ‘It was a loud wake-up call’

A man with glasses in a black blazer, white shirt and pink tie smiles
Aaron Sorkin opened up about his health in a recent interview.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

Aaron Sorkin says he’s taking a new approach to his health after he suffered a stroke in November.

The “West Wing” and “The Social Network” writer told the New York Times in a story published Wednesday about his upcoming Broadway production of “Camelot” and how he suffered a stroke “in the middle of the night” last year.

“There was a minute when I was concerned that I was never going to be able to write again,” he said.


After noticing he “was crashing into walls and corners” at his home and spilling the orange juice he was carrying to his office, Sorkin, 61, called his doctor, who said he had suffered a stroke.

“You’re supposed to be dead,” Sorkin told the NYT.

A month after the stroke, the “Being the Ricardos” writer was slurring his words, had difficulty typing and was discouraged from traveling by air. He said the stroke symptoms have since improved but that he “still can’t really taste food.”

A man in glasses sitting at a table
Aaron Sorkin in a 2020 portrait by The Times.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“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.”

Since then, the Emmy-winning scribe said, he’s made adjustments to his lifestyle. The New York Times wrote that Sorkin, once a heavy smoker who saw the habit as part of the writing process, quit cigarettes after the health scare. He also “cleaned up” his eating habits, began working out regularly and started taking medication.

“You can hear the pills rattling around in me,” he said.

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Sorkin kept his stroke private until Wednesday’s story, telling the NYT that sharing his experience publicly may have an impact beyond his own life.


“If it’ll get one person to stop smoking, then it’ll be helpful,” he said.

Sorkin’s revelation comes as he returns to Broadway with his take on “Camelot,” which stars Andrew Burnap, Jordan Donica and Phillipa Soo. His previous Broadway endeavors are productions of “A Few Good Men,” “The Farnsworth Invention” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

In the interview, Sorkin said he wants to make one thing about his stroke “very clear.”

“I’m fine,” he said. “I wouldn’t want anyone to think I can’t work. I’m fine.”