Robert Redford is not at death’s door due to a supposed polio relapse. A tabloid report claiming the actor is dying is flat-out wrong. Gossip Cop can debunk the story.
An article in the National Enquirer is asserting that Redford’s recent meeting with Pope Francis is an “ominous sign,” according to a doctor quoted in the story. An alleged source tells the publication that Redford “appeared feeble and drained recently.” The dubious report claims the actor is suffering from post-polio syndrome (PPS). The 83-year-old movie star was struck with Polio as a child and one of the common after-effects of the deadly disease is PPS.
The tabloid purports that “85 percent of all people who have had polio” are affected by PPS. The outlet also quotes a doctor who’s never treated the actor as saying, “PPS happens to virtually everyone who’s had polio.” That doctor may want to check their facts. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the condition affects 35-40% of polio survivors. The NINDS also explains that symptoms include “slowly progressive muscle weakness, fatigue (both generalized and muscular), and a gradual decrease in the size of muscles (muscle atrophy).”
If Redford is suffering any of this, he’s sure not showing it. Variety reported earlier this month (and after Redford’s visit with the Pope) that Redford recently appeared in a “90-minute onstage conversation at the Marrakech Film Festival, where he received an honorary tribute.” He was not “feeble” during the event, nor did he looked “drained.” A spokesperson for Redford also denies the story, despite what the outlet’s anonymous source claims.
It’s also worth mentioning that this is a recycled narrative. In February, the Enquirer’s sister publication, the Globe, published a bogus report claiming almost the exact same thing. That story also alleged Redford had months to live and it was his motivation for retiring. The article contended it was PPS that was killing him. It came on the heels of Redford announcing his retirement from acting, but as Gossip Cop pointed out when we busted that story, he’s only retiring from acting – not directing and producing.
Gossip Cop also noted that Redford’s case of polio was mild, compared to many cases in the ’40s and ’50s, before the disease was eradicated in the U.S. with the advent of a vaccine. Redford said in an interview with NPR, “It was alarming, but it wasn’t serious enough to go much further.” So, the tabloids are wrong about the facts on PPS and wrong about Redford suffering from the effects of PPS. The magazine’s morbid report about Redford being at death’s door is baseless.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is totally false.