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A Shaky Matter

Leonard Maltin By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin April 21, 2014 at 3:08PM

People have begun to notice that my left hand is shaking. Out of pride, or stubbornness, I’ve tried to hide it, but I now realize that this was foolish.
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On stage, hands folded, with Quincy Jones at the TCM Classic Film Festival.
On stage, hands folded, with Quincy Jones at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

People have begun to notice that my left hand is shaking. Out of pride, or stubbornness, I’ve tried to hide it, but I now realize that this was foolish. It all began about a year ago when my left thumb started twitching, and it progressed from there. It’s upsetting to lose control of your body, but the good news is that I don’t have Parkinson’s disease. My neurologist calls it a “benign tremor.” It doesn’t hurt or even affect my ability to type; it’s just frustrating, all the more so because my doctor can’t identify the cause.

There isn’t much to be done about it. I tried one medication that helped, at first, and then stopped working (except for some unfortunate side effects—like lethargy).

When I’m onstage interviewing someone or appearing on television, the best I can do is use my right hand to hold the microphone and try to rest my other hand as unobtrusively as possible. (Since my students at USC watch me lecture every week, and I tend to use my hands when I talk, I told them about the situation at the beginning of the semester. I hope they haven’t found it distracting.) But at the recent TCM Classic Film Festival I know some people were wondering what was wrong.

I want everyone to know that I truly appreciate your concern. The good news is: I’m fine and, God willing, will remain so. Now, on with the show…

This article is related to: Journal, TCM Film Festival, Quincy Jones