Aaron Sorkin reveals he had a stroke in November: 'It was a loud wake-up call'

Aaron Sorkin poses during a premiere for the television series The First Lady in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 14, 2022. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Aaron Sorkin, here in April 2022, opens up about health scare as he privately suffered a stroke in November. (Photo: Reuters)

Aaron Sorkin revealed he privately suffered a stroke in November while writing the new Broadway musical Camelot. In an interview with the New York Times, the Oscar winner, 61, admitted he was "concerned" he'd never be able to write again after the health scare.

Sorkin, whose penned screenplays like The Social Network and Moneyball and created beloved show The West Wing, was initially hesitant to speak on the record about the event. He ultimately changed his mind. "If it'll get one person to stop smoking," Sorkin explained, "then it'll be helpful."

The Being the Ricardos director knew something was off four months ago when he awoke one night and was bumping into things. The next morning, the orange juice he was carrying into his office kept spilling. He went to the doctor who informed him his blood pressure was so high he was "supposed to be dead." Sorkin learned he suffered a stroke.

"Mostly it was a loud wake-up call," Sorkin, a heavy smoker since high school, explained. "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."

Smoking two packs a day was part of Sorkin's creative process. "It was just part of it, the way a pen was part of it," he shared. "I don't want to talk about it too much, because I'll start to salivate."

Sorkin was able to quit smoking cold turkey, started eating better and is working out twice a day. "I take a lot of medicine. You can hear the pills rattling around in me," he quipped.

The playwright had lingering physical effects for a month after the stroke. He slurred his words, had trouble typing and couldn't sign his name, according to the Times article. He still can't really taste food.

"There was a minute when I was concerned that I was never going to be able to write again," the director admitted, "and I was concerned in the short-term that I wasn't going to be able to continue writing Camelot."

Luckily, that wasn't the case. Camelot is scheduled to open on Broadway on April 13 with its book rewritten by Sorkin.

"Let me make this very, very clear," Sorkin declared. "I'm fine. I wouldn't want anyone to think I can't work. I'm fine."