‘Baywatch’ Star Mike Newman Talks His Battle With Parkinson’s Disease: “Everything Changes”


Baywatch star Mike Newman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease just five years after the end of the NBC syndicated drama. Now, 16 years later, he has been granted the opportunity to open up about his battle with the illness in the upcoming docuseries Baywatch: The American Dream.

Speaking to People about his diagnosis — which came after his family encouraged him to see a doctor, who prescribed him the medication Azilect — Newman explained how “everything change[d]” after he got the news.

“All those things that you thought you were going to do with your children and grandchildren, pictures we were going to take, all the plans I had… stopped,” he said.

Mike Felker, the director of the four-part docuseries, told the outlet how he sought out Newman — who played Mike “Newmie” Newman on the show — for the docuseries after he noticed that he “had a bigger fanbase than almost any other actor [on the show], probably on the same level as Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff.”

“Everyone loved this guy,” he continued. “They thought he was just so cool.”

However, when originally approached by Felker to appear in his project, Newman was hesitant, particularly because he didn’t want to be known as “the guy with Parkinson’s.” Nonetheless, after meeting Felker, he decided to take him up on his offer.

Newman, who was the only real-life lifeguard on the Baywatch cast and also served as a firefighter, has been active his entire life, and credited continuing his lifestyle as being an asset in his battle against Parkinson’s.

“I’ve been training for this,” he told People. “Somebody that was 65 and not very athletic, if they got the news that they got Parkinson’s, it wouldn’t turn out as well. I got them all beat, I guess, if we could call it ‘beat.’”

Still, he described the disease as “a slow burn.”

“Parkinson’s disease doesn’t wait for you,” he added. “It keeps on plowing in.”

Felker’s docuseries is set to to raise money for those with Parkinson’s disease alongside the Michael J. Fox Foundation  and Cedars-Sinai. While Newman admitted “this may not help [him],” he highlighted that “it’s going to help someone down the road.”

With respect to the show that put his name on the map, he asked himself where he would be without Baywatch.

“Well, it would’ve been kind of a boring life, I guess,” he said.


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