Aaron Sorkin Had Stroke Last November Before ‘Camelot’ Rehearsals: “A Loud Wake-Up Call” For Lifelong Smoker

Aaron Sorkin, whose adaptation of the musical Camelot opens on Broadway next month, has revealed that he suffered a stroke last November.

“Mostly it was a loud wake-up call,” Sorkin said in an interview with The New York Times. “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.”

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The West Wing creator and To Kill A Mockingbird adapter has largely recovered from the incident, which he says occurred in November two months before Camelot rehearsals were scheduled to begin. Sorkin says he woke up one night and, on his way to the kitchen, stumbled into walls. The next morning he noticed he was having difficulty holding his orange juice without spilling.

After a doctor visit that day, he was told his blood pressure was so high that he was “supposed to be dead.” The 61-year-old Sorkin slurred his words and had difficulty typing for a month, but his only lingering symptom now is an inability to taste food.

“Let me make this very, very clear,” Sorkin says. “I’m fine. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I can’t work. I’m fine.”

Sorkin says he quit a longstanding smoking habit after the stroke, and has improved his diet and exercise routines. “I take a lot of medicine,” he says. “You can hear the pills rattling around in me.”

Times reporter Michael Paulson writes that Sorkin mentioned the stroke in passing and initially asked that the disclosure be off the record. Sorkin subsequently changed his mind and agreed to go public with the information.

“If it’ll get one person to stop smoking,” he says, “then it’ll be helpful.”

A spokesperson for Camelot said Sorkin will have no further comment about the stroke.

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