Dialysis is a treatment for those with kidneys which lost most or all their function and, thus, are no longer able to do the job of cleansing the blood (thus maintaining balance between water and other substances) and are no longer capable of producing the hormones the body needs to stay healthy. [Related reading: Celebrities With Kidney Transplants.]
Here’s a list of famous people who have undergone dialysis treatments:
Walter Matthau. In a 2000 interview with Larry King on CNN, Academy Award-winning actor Walter Matthau revealed that he has been having dialysis. Here’s an excerpt from the interview transcript:
KING: Oh, so you got kidney problems off the pneumonia problems.
MATTHAU: And be on dialysis.
KING: You’re on dialysis.
MATTHAU: Oh, yes.
KING: How many times a week?
MATTHAU: Three times a week.
KING: What’s that like?
MATTHAU: Well, I like it because I fall asleep.
KING: You do? It’s not painful?
MATTHAU: No. No. Whatever the pain is, if you absorb too much water or any fluid. I found out last night that too much wine is no good.
KING: You drank some wine?
MATTHAU: I had some wine. It was very good wine. I mean, this wine, I’m telling you, it must have been in the area of $6,000 a bottle.
KING: Walter, is it advisable that you drink?
MATTHAU: Somebody said you have to have this wine, and it was so delicious I kept drinking it.
KING: And that affected the kidney?
MATTHAU: Well, the kidney is already a thesaurus (ph). so nothing is going to affect it really.
KING: Are you eligible for a transplant?
MATTHAU: I’m eligible, but a little too old. KING: You’re going to be 80, huh?
MATTHAU: I am — shh.
Shammi Kapoor. Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor told interviewers in 2006 that he has dialysis treatments three times a week. He died of chronic renal failure in 2011 at the age of 79. According to an Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) report, he “was on dialysis for the last few days and was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai where he breathed his last.”
Ferdinand Marcos. The ousted dictator of the Philippines was dependent on dialysis to survive for the last years of his life. From a 1989 New York Times report:
In late June, his liver failed and he had a 104-degree fever, but survived to undergo removal of his only functional kidney, which had been transplanted in 1984. Mr. Marcos became dependent on kidney dialysis for survival.
The dictator died at 72 years old after a long battle with heart, lung and kidney ailments.