Reagan's Daughter Calls Will Ferrell Role 'Heartless'

Patti Davis slams upcoming 'comedy' focusing on her dad's dementia
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2016 6:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – News that actor Will Ferrell will be playing a dementia-stricken Ronald Reagan in an upcoming comedic film caused an "uproar" this week, per CNN, with critics denouncing the decision to treat Alzheimer's disease as the joke framing the movie. Among the detractors: Reagan's family, including his daughter, Patti Davis, who tells Page Six, "This is a heartless move by Will Ferrell. … I am sure with my mother's passing, somebody thought this was a 'great time' to make this movie." Davis has now gone a step further and penned an open letter to Ferrell on her website, taking him to task for his possible "ignorance about Alzheimer's and other versions of dementia" and chastising, "Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous."

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After noting that "Alzheimer's doesn't care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker," Davis documents her dad's heart-wrenching decline. "I watched as fear invaded my father's eyes—this man who was never afraid of anything. .. I watched helplessly as he reached for memories, for words, that were suddenly out of reach and moving farther away. … There was laughter in those years, but there was never humor." She then invites Ferrell to visit dementia facilities—"I didn't find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you're a decent human being, you wouldn't either"—and to come speak to an Alzheimer's support group she runs to "explain to [family members and caregivers] how this disease is suitable material for a comedy." Her entire piece is here. (Read more Patti Davis stories.)

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