'Baywatch' Actor Mike Newman Opens Up About His Lengthy Battle With Parkinson's

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Mike Newman

After gaining fame for his work playing a lifeguard on screen in Baywatch, retired actor and firefighter Mike Newman is now dealing with a very real struggle as he battles Parkinson's disease.

The 66-year-old opened up about his personal battle in a new interview with People, telling the publication about how he was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2006 after people around him started noticing symptoms.

“Everything changes," said Newman, referring to his life after the diagnosis. "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.”

>>> Sign up for Parade's Trending News newsletter and we'll keep you in the know on the viral pop culture moments and celebrity news everyone is talking about <<<

One thing Newman and his wife Sarah, 67, planned to do was retire in Hawaii, with Newman even building them a beautiful home on his own. But after finding out that he had Parkinson's, the couple found themselves leaving the dream of Hawaii behind to stay in Los Angeles.

Newman opened up about his life now to director Matt Felker for the new documentary, Baywatch: The American Dream, only agreeing to do the project if they worked with the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Cedars-Sinai to raise funds for fighting Parkinson’s: "This may not help me. But it's going to help someone down the road.”

Now, Newman is 16 years post-diagnosis, and he does his best to live well, working out every day. He told People, “I’ve been training for this. 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.'”

Every day he runs, swims, and kayaks, with Felker describing Newman in the water: "You see him on land and he's stumbling, he's tripping … but you put him in the water and the dude's like Superman.”

But the 66-year-old knows he's "lucky." Describing Parkinson's as "sinister," he said, "It’s a slow burn. Parkinson's disease doesn't wait for you. It keeps on plowing in," adding that the symptoms "march forward so slowly that you barely notice that they're changing."

While he's kept his life and personal health struggles private until now, Newman hopes that telling his story in Baywatch: The American Dream might help someone else. The upcoming movie will look back at the popular TV series and its cast, which also included Pamela Anderson, David Hasselhoff, Jason Momoa, and more.

Next: Pamela Anderson Revives Iconic Baywatch Swimsuit in New Beach Pic