Even a lifeguard needs help sometimes.
Michael Newman, who played the red trunks-wearing Newmie on Baywatch and was the one professional lifeguard among the red-suited pretenders, revealed today that he has been battling Parkinson's disease for the past five years.
"It took me a long time to realize that I was going to have to reorder my life," Newman told L.A.'s KPCC-FM. "It was going to change. Just realizing you're not going to be able to do a lot of the things with your kids that you thought you were going to be able to do."
Also a former firefighter, the now 55-year-old married father of two won the National Lifeguard Ironman Championship in 1996. After consulting and acting on Baywatch, Newman moved onto selling real estate and family life in Pacific Palisades.
But, five years ago, a tremor in his left hand that he at first attributed to "getting old" eventually prompted him to see a doctor—and the diagnosis was Parkinson's.
Newman told KPCC that he's hopeful that advances in stem-cell therapy research means new treatments are on the horizon to help people with the disease.