Baywatch star Mike Newman opens up about 16-year battle with Parkinson’s: ‘All the plans I had… stopped’
The actor, who played lifeguard Mike “Newmie” Newman on the long-running show, will detail his struggles with the disease in Baywatch: The Documentary.
Published on October 7, 2023
Baywatch star Mike Newman is speaking out about his 16-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
The retired actor, who played lifeguard Mike ‘Newmie’ Newman in more than 150 episodes of the hit action series, told PEOPLE that he was diagnosed with the disorder in 2006 after his family encouraged him to seek medical advice when they noticed he was moving more slowly. His doctor then prescribed Newman with medication to help with his symptoms and later revealed his diagnosis.
“Everything changes,” Newman told the outlet. “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.”
The former firefighter will discuss his diagnosis in an upcoming four-part docuseries about the show titled Baywatch: The American Dream. Newman admitted that he was initially hesitant because he didn’t want to be remembered by fans as “the guy with Parkinson’s,” but its director, Matt Felker, ultimately changed his mind. The pair have since gone on to form a strong friendship.
Newman, who has been active his entire life and even worked as a lifeguard before starring on Baywatch, said he continues to keep up a healthy lifestyle in order to treat his symptoms. He works out for at least 45 minutes each day, often swimming, kayaking, or going for a run on the beach.
“I’ve been training for this,” Newman explained. “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 called the disease “sinister,” noting how its symptoms “march forward so slowly that you barely notice that they’re changing.” As part of his participation in the docuseries, the project will work alongside the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Cedars-Sinai to raise funds for those fighting the same battle. “This may not help me,” Newman said. “But it’s going to help someone down the road.”
By sharing his diagnosis, Newman hopes his story will provide comfort to others. While he acknowledged that he would have done “a lot of things” differently, Newman said he’s grateful for all of the people he’s met and the experiences he’s had from being on Baywatch.
“Where would I be without it?” he said. “Well, it would’ve been kind of a boring life, I guess.”
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