‘Deadwood’ scribe David Milch shares ‘discouraging’ Alzheimer’s diagnosis

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“Deadwood” scribe and “NYPD Blue” co-creator David Milch says he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Emmy-winning screenwriter was diagnosed with the memory-sapping illness about a year ago following instances of “imperfect recall and tardy recall and short temper,” said Milch, 74, in an interview with New York magazine.

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


A rep for Milch did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment Tuesday.

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The revelation comes just before the May 31 premiere of HBO’s “Deadwood” film, Milch’s long-promised continuation of the Old West story. The feature film picks up 10 years after the events of the final episode and more than a decade since the show’s been off the air.

Milch’s symptoms appeared when he was writing the movie script and have resulted in the infamous micro-manager delegating day-to-day operations on the project to his collaborators, including veteran director Daniel Minahan and his co-executive producer Regina Corrado, who was a writer on the series.

After “Deadwood” abruptly went off the air in 2006, Milch’s follow-up projects flopped or, in the case of his horse-racing drama “Luck,” were shut down.

The risk-taking dramatist, often self-described as a “degenerate gambler,” recently faced a lawsuit alleging that he had gambled away his fortune and accumulated $17 million in debt. It was settled out of court, and his wife, Rita, who brought the lawsuit against him and his business managers in 2016, told the magazine that they’ve since “come back from it” and have “obviously scaled back.”

Milch said he plans to continue writing despite the disease’s challenges.

Twitter: @NardineSaad