'I was terrified to reveal my autism': Daryl Hannah opens up about her struggle to manage her disorder in Hollywood
Daryl Hannah has revealed that she was diagnosed with Autism as a child and struggled 'debilitating shyness' as a result of the disorder.
Now 52, Hannah - who reached the very peak of her profession through roles in smash hits like Splash, Blade Runner, Wall Street and Steel Magnolias - is able to quietly manage her symptoms.
But as she rose through the Hollywood hierarchy it was a different story altogether.
'I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention,' the stunning blonde - who dated John Kennedy Jnr. - star told People.
'It’s always freaked me out.'
The Chicago reared beauty said at times her shyness would become so overwhelming that she would rock back and forward constantly.
'I’m a grown up now,' she told the magazine.
'I’ve learned a couple of things that really would’ve made my life easier if I’d known them 20 years ago.'
Hannah, who became famous as a teenager, said that she concealed her autism from movie producers and refused to do promotional interviews or talk show appearances, 'not because I was above it, but because I was terrified.'
She added: 'I wasted so much time scared, self-conscious and insecure.'
Now the limelight has moved elsewhere, the comfortable star says her roles have changed but she's happy.
With a boyfriend of three years, a rescue pig called Molly and and a farm near L.A, her life has changed dramatically.
'Life is too short to stress the small things anymore.'
I'm not at all surprised. She's always seemed classic autism spectrum personality, and there were rumors about this for years. I'd say there are a LOT more Aspie or ASD celebrities than we will ever know about.
She's a much more natural actor in middle age than at the peak of her fame, but her facework is really obvious on screen.
A lot of people on DL have thought she was Autistic
I tried to slap the autism out of her.
Wow - I had no idea they were diagnosing people with autism 40+ years ago. She's damn near patient zero!
I always thought she was mildly retarded.
R6, me too!
Me too R8. Her and the chick from Four Weddings and a Funeral come across as mildly retarded.
Makes sense. There was no reason for this pouty Amazon to be avoidant and gloomily observational as she seemed to be at times in interviews. She should have been your typical, attention-starved airhead. She's always been a quirky, freaked out beauty - it's a big part of her appeal.
WOW--thank you Daryl Hannah for your courage and candor!
I had heard all of the rumors as well but people were so cruel about it all.
Coming out as autistic is especially difficult for a woman--it immediately labels you a 'weird chick.' That's gotta be hard.
Daryl Hannah, I LURVE you!
Wow, she's only 52? I would've guessed she was in her 60s on account of her facework.
That only makes her more special!
I'm skeptical of her claim and it's interesting to me how credulous the rest of you appear.
You guys are aware that there is no concrete test for autism (blood test, etc.)?
I think she looks good for her age. I thought that autism wasn't widely diagnosed that long ago though. Perhaps she got a diagnosis because her parents were so wealthy (better doctors). I wonder if she told JFK Jr, or if she kept it a secret.
A lot of autistic people are stunningly beautiful. A lot of beautiful people have no social skills/are assholes. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I have aspbergers, and am a classic ugly duckling. I was a really funny looking child, but blossomed in college (I did a lot of print modeling). I have always been weird, and people often think that I am on drugs or crazy. I don't ever tell people about my diagnosis, but people might be more understanding if they knew. There is such a stigma associated with autism. Some idiots actually think that it is a form of mental retardation.
The interview took five fucking hours.
'I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention,'
'It’s always freaked me out.'
'I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention,'
'It’s always freaked me out. freaked me out.'
'I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention,'
'It’s always freaked me out. always always.
'I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention,'
'It’s always freaked me out.'
I met her about 10 years ago. She seemed incredibly awkward and uncomfortable around people, always looking down at the floor.
Ages ago I saw her on "Oprah" along with the cast of the film "Steel Magnolias." The poor dear said nary a word and looked as though she wasn't all there. At the time, I thought she was stoned, but it seems as though she could not fully process the situation because of her condition.
There have been rumors about her for years and I think she is doing herself a world of good by speaking of her condition.
The bad thing in all of this is that Jackson Brown beat someone who is mildly autistic of all things! What a bastard.
It's very hard
To be a 'tard.
So now I'm scarred.
This makes so much sense now. She's only ever been believable when playing characters who weren't human.
On one hand, it would make memorization of lines and reshoots easy for her. On the other, God help anyone who revised a script or improvised a scene.
As far as diagnostics mentioned by R7, if you had a child who was a brainiac in some areas, but couldn't understand things like tying shoes you might know there's something off.
The insistence upon repetition in scheduling, dress, and diet is also an indicator even if there's no formal diagnosis available.
There's also the 'wand waving' when excited, non-reciprical yawning, and delayed emotion.
It was clearly reveled to anyone who saw Steel Magnolias.
Fuck all of you who make fun of things like that. You are really low. Daryl Hannah is superior to all of you gay freaks. You are all gay men who taunt conditions such as autism. At least a lesbian woman would never fall into your pathetic level by commenting like the way you did about autism..Many of you seem really rotten and sick inside. That's very upsetting and sad.
I'm sceptical about her claim.
Since she lied about having facework, which she's been having for a few decades, I am extremely skeptical of her dx. I call BS. She is an attention whore like everyone else that's a celeb.
Plus you DO NOT GROW OUT of AUTISM, ever. Not the head shaking, screaming, etc. I worked in schools, and many/most of these kids are in diapers! FOREVER!
I'll give her credit. I opened up about living with Parkinson's, and two guys laughed at me. If I had a feeling left, it might have been hurt.
But could she wait in the regular line at Disneyland, or did she need a GAC?
That's the true test.
R32 - She's missing one finger, so she gets the fastpass.
I perceived she was drawing upon some hidden personal pain to portray the mermaid in Splash, the Clan of the Cave Bear outcast and the android outcast in Blade Runner. The stony vulnerability is at the heart of her appeal.
[quote] Daryl Hannah has revealed that she was diagnosed with Autism as a child
Like hell she was. Autism was not a diagnosis until the late 1970s. I know, because I was in college when the word was first used in general health pediatric care and teaching films started being made about this new "autism."
And -- what was described back then as autism was head-banging behavior, uncommunicative nature (as in never speaking or having a vocabulary of very few words), not looking people in the eye, not engaging with other children or with adults. "Autism spectrum disorder" didn't start getting discussed until the late 1980s.
Darryl Hannah is too old to have had a childhood diagnosis of autism and waaay too old to have been diagnosed in childhood with autism spectrum disorder .
She is stupid, though, to think everyone over 50 is dumb enough not to remember when autism started being diagnosed. So maybe she is mildly retarded.
Right r35 - reminds me of this asshole preacher that has a blog that said he as a fetus pleaded with his mother not to take the abortion PILL!!!! He was born in ww2 era, it's like wtf? That wasn't even invented till decades later.
I could swear that she once claimed that she is/was/whatever dyslexic. She'll do anything to hide that missing finger!
r37 you're not imagining that. She said she was dyslexic in the past. It's beginning to look to me like Darryl has Munchausen by Proxy on herself, she gets the diseases du jour. Oh and she's never had plastic...riiiight.
She has PTSD from being with Buster Browne.
Isn't Browne with Bonnie Raitt? Hard to believe she'd put up with crap at her age.
Bonnie Raitt isn't a lesbian? (Or is Jackson Browne really a lesbian in disguise?)
She's likely a mild case of Aspergers. I have a family member in his 60s who was recently diagnosed with this, he had a lot of similar issues: crippling shyness, inability to relate to others, emotional disconnection, quirks we thought were OCD. A brilliant guy otherwise.
If Bonnie Raitt is a lesbian, she picks very odd beards.
r35, you are wrong. The term autism has been in use by the medical profession for about 100 years, and more widely used to describe people like Daryl Hannah since the 1940s.
The character in Rainman was autistic - or more commonly referred to as autistic savant or idiot savant.
I just thought about this... I'm terrified to reveal that I know this much about Daryl Hannah. It's the fucking fake finger, I swear. I'll sit through terrible movies trying to spot it. (I also wondered if she and Scotty from Star Trek would swap them from time to time.)
So, JFK was dating an Aspie and Jackie caught on early. She was like that, that Jackie.
I so want to click your link but I know how it is when I get sucked into Webmd. It literally is our owner's manual but I have a shade of hypochondriac running deeply inside me and I can't spend too much time on the boards there. I do that at DL as well. Addictive.
Jackie was aware that autism is genetic and wanted a fighting chance for her grandchildren. Can't fault Jackie there.
R48: Once you go black, er, shade...
I always figured she was a tard.
I do think that there are probably a surprisingly large number of Hollywood people, both behind and even in front of the camera, who have ASD.
Tim Burton is an obvious example, but I have been convinced for a long time that Tom Cruise has ASD as well.
Think about how tone-deaf he is to real human interaction -- he learns his roles by working very hard at emoting the way he sees other people doing. Nothing natural about his demeanor.
R53: Is ASD the new term for "Asspie"? My partner has Assburger's Bullshit, and he can get away with murder just using that made up mess.
R52 did make me laugh and R53 nails it.
I know an aspie now but earlier I couldn't get the hate for them that is all over the net. They usually have annoying ticks due to their oblivious nature and there's always them feeling comfortable and righteous in correcting everybody.The rigidity forces most relationships down the toilet. I get the hate for them but then back up a little when I realize their true intention is to help us. They think they're helping us because they aren't aware that they are flying blind. I'm sorry but that is just one annoying ass trait. Stop it!
She claims to not be an aspie but a rocker/screamer as a child and miraculously "outgrew" it, I call bs on that.
R53, have you heard the rumors that Tom has never hosted SNL because he hasn't addressed his ADD issues/ dyslexia with rationality?
R56: I've lived with one since we met our first day at college. I've learned only one lesson since that day. AN ASSPIE CAN NEVER BE WRONG (even when they are). That, however, is just not fucking possible. They'll bend space and time to be right.
I may want to put a pillow over his face at night, but I love the self righteous prick.
I can believe that about Cruise.
R56 my Aspie relative has the same trait, righteously correcting everyone. He's also very rigid and has had tremendous problems relating to others. It's a real diagnosis, if Hannah was made aware of it for herself later in life she's lucky.
[quote]I could swear that she once claimed that she is/was/whatever dyslexic. She'll do anything to hide that missing finger!
Just how many defective genes does she have?? Did her parents stop this obviously horrible bloodline after this tragedy?
And she's missing a finger, Mr. Hitler. It never fucking ends. Beethoven was deaf!
She is charming. And i don't say that out of pity because of her autism. She was never a conservative beauty but she was always soooooooo sexy and instinctive. Now that i found out about her autism, nothing changed about the way she seems to me.
Not all people can be sexy. She obviously can and apparently that annoys some dear queens here, so let's Hannah below the belt! It's so easy behind a computer screen, after all.
r63: Look for the missing finger. It's so creepy.
R59, do you feel like me as well? Like you went out and adopted a special needs, 5 yr. old kid?
They're lazy as hell when home, too. They have trouble getting motivated for the real world. They hate being down that hole and it frustrates them as well. Intervention at any age is worth it because they make excellent students when we've got their attention. This we know.
[quote] and more widely used to describe people like Daryl Hannah since the 1940s
Darryl Hannah would not be referred to as having autism in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s or 1980s.
She might be told she is somewhere on the autism spectrum disorder scale in the 1990s, 2000s or 2010s.
I never saw a diagnosis of autism in psychiatric hospitals or developmental centers in the 1970s. Not one. But I saw a lot of diagnoses of childhood psychosis, childhood schizophrenia, mental retardation and profound mental retardation. No adults or children were diagnosed autistic, though thousands certainly were what we now call autistic. Rainman would have been diagnosed a schizophrenic with obsessive compulsive behavior and intrusive thoughts.
The children and adults with the football helmets who banged their heads against the wall were believed to be profoundly mentally retarded. Other people we would call autistic were thought to have been brain damaged at birth or in utero by hypoxia.
I really felt for the staff at developmental centers. There were no helpful treatments for the patients and the patients were extremely difficult and often violent. It was a job that could drive you crazy after a while. I don't know how they did it every day. Imagine having a large room of untreated autistic patients and only 2 or 3 health aides overseeing them. It was warehousing. Sad.
I adopted a very special needs five year-old who just happens to be a genius (and never lets me forget that fact).
He's not exactly lazy... he's that kid in school who could somehow hit the honor roll at the last fucking second. He's never washed a dish or cleaned a toilet in his life, and my poor maid says she suffers for this. (They should marry. They'd make a perfect straight couple - all complaints and no sex.)
A true Aspie wouldn't have the requisite empathy to be a convincing actor. ASD is like fibromyalgia for the creative set. So tired of hearing about it.
Amen Ms. R68 - I call them Sociopaths Without Manners. Find a situation they can't squirm out of, really.
"A true Aspie wouldn't have the requisite empathy to be a convincing actor."
Nobody ever said Darryl Hannah was a good actor!
Her career has been built on her looks, and a certain vulnerability and likeability. Not skill.
R68 And homosexuals are incapable of stable, loving relationships. Being "gay" is the fibromyalgia of the immoral set. So sick of hearing about them.
Why are you here R71? Clearly you're slumming it.
Would someone with Aspergers be concerned enough with their looks to get PS?
R71 Being gay is not a disorder.
Nice try though, genius.
R73: Yes, they love themselves in the deepest and most shallow way.
Are you guys arguing that she's not autistic b/c they didn't widely use the word "autistic", autistic? Seriously. Vernacular changes, you bunch of cripples.
Are you too illiterate to read that Darryl Hannah says she was diagnosed with autism as a child? Meaning, like, at least 40 years ago? There's no way she would have been diagnosed with autism as a child.
And yes, I've never known someone on the spectrum who didn't have a symmetrical face. This often translates to stunning beauty. These people were often horribly abused when they were warehoused in hospitals.
Where the fuck did that come from, R78? Were you Daryl Hannah's foster at some point? Care to share with the group?
Sexy? She is the opposite of sexy, less appealing than Goopy. Daryl is beautiful, but unsexy.
But she will not let that personal tragedy interfere with her ability to do good hair!
I've always felt she was unsexy, too. Her body is just ... Not nice.
Daryl is definitely sexy. Her screen persona during youth suggested frightened, animalistic tendencies.
R19 here. I was a brilliant student, but had no friends as a child. I have always been terribly shy, exhibited obsessive repetitive behavior, was unable to make eye contact etc. I always knew that something was wrong with me, but didn't get an official diagnosis until 10 years ago. I do better in social situations than I used to (for very short periods of time) because I have learned to mimic other people's behavior. I force myself to look people in the eye, as much as it pains me. I have found myself developing an accent when I talk to people with accents which is weird. This ability to mimic others could be very helpful in acting. I'm sure that she has had quite a bit of therapy over the years too. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be very helpful.
R19 / R84 (1984 - suspicious): You don't deserve to have any friends. You need a nice boyfriend who can control your crazy, neurotic bullshit (assuming you might be cute or hung). If not, remember, you want to consume a bottle of vodka, get in a warm tub, and don't cut across the street, go up the street. You'll be at least room temperature in no time.
R86: I'm not an Asspie/headcase, my partner is. I'm just a cunt who's in bed with the flu (despite planning to get a flu shot before the Asspie decided to fly to some cornfield state to see his Mommy). I'm just a foolish guy with a bit of a nerd fetish, and my doctor couldn't make a house call in time.
What other actresses besides Daryl and Marion Cotillard have amputations? And why is her name Daryl?
R85 & R87. This thread isn't about you. Head on over to the BPD pages; I'm sure you'll feel more at home there.
It's not as big a deal for women, especially ones who were considered sex symbols back in their day, like Daryl Hannah was. I don't know what the big deal is.
Well, R57, they can 'outgrow' it. You see, there is research supporting removal of grains from the diet because of all the problems grains cause neurologically. Autism is one of said problems. If she's a typical Hollywood person who avoids carbs, she might have accidentally healed her brain somewhat just in trying to stay thin, thereby reducing her symptoms.
I'm way over-simplifying. There's more to it, but this is the gist.
Her bf of 3 years is another skinny, long-legged actor with big lips. The sexy Paul Blackthorne, a middling actor with a deep voice.
Great... now Goopy is here. Loving Fuckly. See... you Asspies are why they hate you. They hate lesbians because of nutloaf. They hate Cheryl for obvious reasons.
'I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention,' the stunning blonde - who dated John Kennedy Jnr. - star told People. 'It’s always freaked me out.'
Maybe she shouldn't have gone into acting.
I've rather always liked Daryl. She's an heiress isn't she ? Didn't need to go into acting for the money, I guess she just likes doing it (since she isn't in it for 'the attention' either). Interesting news.
She's merely stupid, that's all. The very fact that she hates being the center of attraction but went into a field where you want people to look at and notice you is absurdly stupid. You cannot be an actor if you are not willing o be the center of attention. It's all you do.
Acting appeals to the autistic (or thought to be autistic) because having dialogue provided for you is a miracle. The emotional storms of real life are also better focused in a performance. It is a coordination and planning of the emotionally chaotic that appeals to actors thought to be on the "spectrum".
Nonsense. If you can't stand being the center of attention then you don't go into a profession where the object is to get people to notice you.
A post office night shift job is the ideal profession for people with autism.
Not if they are intuitively working to be rid of it, R98. And don't say "Nonsense", you sound like a snotty snoodnik sitting on a leaf in a Dr.Seuss story.
She looks like a high-functioning autistic, but not an spie. Autistics have that "dead behind the eyes" look that Aspies don't.
And you're an expert, R99.
Daryl Hannah is a high functioning moron.
I'm horrified to reveal yellow waxy buildup on my linoleum so I can relate.
R101: Does that make Goopy Paltrow the High Priestess of Morons?
Not all actors like being the "center of attention"--many are actually shy and/or introverted when not on stage. You're confusing narcissism with art.
Her half-sister studied directing at Columbia Univ. She has been with the same woman for two decades. They have several kids.
I always liked Daryl as the slinky, freaked out performance artist in "Legal Eagles". Redford had to have that.
No one has addressed R38? We're just letting "Daryl has Munchausen by Proxy on herself" go?
Well one of her other sisters has been married to Lou Adler for ages and has several kids by him. There's like a 30 year age difference between them. I find him and his other offspring gross, personally.
Every interview I've read of Daryl Hannah she's claimed that she was "semi-autistic" as a child. This is not brand new information.
"Splash" was one of my favorite movies as a child and I've always had a soft spot for her ever since.
I have two nephews with autism. One of them is more high functioning than the other, and he's involved in drama class and is a pretty good actor for a teenager. It happens, is all I'm saying.
Trolldar r67.How creepy. Thinking about a sexless relationship for your 5 year old (who doesn't exist, I suspect). You've spewed your anti-Aspie hatred all throughout this thread.
R111: Dipshit, I was talking about my PARTNER (see the post about two up for the context). Don't trip on your prolapsed asshole as you leave, really.
R18, would you so kindly give us an example? Daryl, you say.
Stunningly beautiful like Mia Farrow's son Ronan or sacha whatever? The as[ies i've know were always clumsy and did retarded things with their hands, just short of flapping. They were never good at sports. Although I did see a special on 13 back ya'll titled "Refrigerator moms". Back in the 70s, doctors blamed the spectrum on moms being cold and callus when often the gene was passed by the dad. remember one son who had it bad was hot. he's the only one i can think of.
scroll down for full flick.
[quote]Daryl Hannah has revealed that she was diagnosed with Autism as a child and struggled 'debilitating shyness' as a result of the disorder.
It should reas...That she was MISdiagnosed with Autism.
Clearly you all have never seen an actual autistic person.
And don't give me that bull shit about autistic spectrum. That is just bull shit they made up to get lazy ass people on SSD.
So what, she's inherited tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, in addition to her movie earnings. If she wants to spend her days staring at a spinning things and rocking back and forth, she can afford to.
This certainly explains a lot.
Isn't acting a strange career choice for an autistic person? It seems like the entire vocation centers around understanding emotions and emotional responses. Given that Darryl Hannah was never known for her acting chops (and was roundly criticized for that lacking) I think it's a strange choice for an autistic person. She coasted on her looks for a while but no one would hire her now.
BUMP for poster too autistic to do a search
[R68] is confusing Aspergers with Sociopathy.
People with Aspergers have trouble picking up social cues and understanding how others think, but they do exhibit empathy.
I have taught a few people with Aspergers in acting classes over the years. They can have problems with performing but empathy is not the issue. Rather it is an inability to understand what behavior reveals.
So while they may not recognize that you are sad from your demeanor, once they know that your father passed away, they understand that you might be in real pain.
(And one Aspie told me he could identify when someone is lying more easily than the rest of us. I discovered that he was indeed correct about this on many occasions.)
One of the better known performers with Aspergers is Mo Rocca. He is witty and shows feeling for others in his work, but always comes across as pedantic or odd in his behavior. That is pretty typical in my experience. Daryl Hannah's otherworldiness and eccentricity as a performer also seem in line with what I observed.
But describing someone without a "theory of mind" as being unempathetic...well I guess if you see people as robots that makes sense. But just because someone needs you to be explicit about what you are feeling does not mean they cannot empathize.
[quote] And one Aspie told me he could identify when someone is lying more easily than the rest of us. I discovered that he was indeed correct about this on many occasions
Why was this an aside? You should have made it central to your long post.
R107 I LOL'd.
Where did you bitches get the idea that autism only became a diagnosis in the late 1970s? It's been around as a term and diagnosis since the 1940s and before.
I think this explains Keanu Reeves a bit too. Beautiful bad actors unite!
Isn't it weird that Sandy Bullock is only three years younger than her?