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Julia Louis-Dreyfus Holding a Microphone | Source: Getty Images
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Holding a Microphone | Source: Getty Images

Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Cancer Battle: Actress Once Confessed She Was 'To-Her-Bones Terrified' about Her Diagnosis

Akhona Zungu
Nov 20, 2022
08:15 P.M.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus bravely shared her journey with cancer with fans on social media with a bit of her comedic prowess. Although the diagnosis brought tremendous fear, it amplified her empathy and advocacy for other cancer survivors and families who couldn't afford treatment.

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Born in New York City on June 13, 1961, Julia Louis Dreyfus is a household name in the acting and comedy industry who's been committed to her craft for decades. She began by studying Drama at Northwestern University and joined the Second City comedy troupe shortly afterward.

Louis-Dreyfus then joined "Saturday Night Live" as a regular cast member for two seasons before turning her focus to films and TV shows. She landed the role of Elaine Benes on the 1990s sitcom "Seinfield," the portrayal of which earned her a Golden Globe and an Emmy award in 1993 and 1996, respectively.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses at the NRDC's "Night of Comedy" benefit honoring the actress at NeueHouse Los Angeles on June 7, 2022, in Hollywood | Source: Getty Images

Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses at the NRDC's "Night of Comedy" benefit honoring the actress at NeueHouse Los Angeles on June 7, 2022, in Hollywood | Source: Getty Images

The beloved Elaine Benes brought Louis-Dreyfus great acclaim, along with the numerous following roles, such as in the 2006 sitcom "Watching Ellie" and the seven-seasons-long "Veep." While Louis-Dreyfus's career has been rewarding, her accolades have coincided with some tragic events.

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The day before the 2016 Emmy award ceremony, her father tragically passed. During an emotional acceptance speech after winning an award for "Veep," she told the audience how glad she was that her dad enjoyed the show.

In the year that followed, the comedienne received the devastating news of her diagnosis just after she'd set a remarkable record in her career. Still, she persevered and fought the negativity that threatened to consume her. Today, Louis-Dreyfus is a proud cancer survivor, a breast cancer and an environmental activist.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is pictured at the movie set of the 'Beth and Don' on May 10, 2022, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is pictured at the movie set of the 'Beth and Don' on May 10, 2022, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Found Out She Had Cancer Just a Day after Winning Her Sixth Emmy

In 2017, Louis-Dreyfus became the first actor to have the most wins for a single role after winning her sixth Emmy award for "Veep." Prior to the ceremony, she had visited a radiologist after finding a lump in her breast, who did a biopsy on the actress.

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After performing the biopsy, the radiologist warned her to prepare for "bad news." Sadly, his suspicions were correct, as the day after winning the Emmy, Louis-Dreyfus received her Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis.

She announced the devastating news on Twitter, prompting many fans and celebrities to share kind messages of support and encouragement. Although many were sad for her, Louis-Dreyfus took a more optimistic perspective on the journey that was ahead.

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Still, that optimism admittedly wasn't without dread. In December 2018, she reflected on her diagnosis and how it made her feel "to-the-bones terrified." However, Louis-Dreyfus didn't allow herself to be consumed by the fear of possible death, as she explained:

"'I didn't let myself go there. Don't misunderstand: I was to-my-bones terrified. But I didn't let myself – except for a couple of moments – go to a really dark place. I didn't allow it."

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Julia Decided to Go Public with Her Cancer Battle

Louis-Dreyfus chronicled her recovery journey on social media and divulged her reason why in a 2018 appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" The "New Adventures of Old Christine" star was fortunate and grateful that she had insurance to cover her medical bills but recognized that other American families didn't have that privilege.

By documenting her journey, Louis-Dreyfus hoped to further the conversation about healthcare access in the country. She reflected on the positive feedback she received from her supporters, noting their appreciation for how she added a sense of humor to ease a worrying situation.

Following her diagnosis, the filming for "Veep" was stalled as she underwent treatment. Still, she would go for script-reading sessions every few weeks with her colleagues, whom she couldn't touch or hug.

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The show's executive director, David Mandel, was mindful of her health state as he recalled how much more "emaciated and gaunt" she would be each time she returned for a script reading. He explained the measures they'd put in place for her sake, saying:

"If anybody coughed, we banned them from the building like three days before, God forbid we got her sick."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses in the press room at the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017, in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses in the press room at the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017, in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

After returning to film the last season, Louis-Dreyfus couldn't have been more grateful for the show, describing it as "a lifesaver in many ways." She even added that she would have done the show for free and loved every part of its creation. "Veep" was a guiding light for Louis-Dreyfus, as she explained:

"It was a very strong reminder of this light that was there at the end of this crazy dark tunnel through which I was traveling. It was a tonic to know that was waiting on the other side."

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She expressed similar sentiments about her husband, Brad Hall, and their sons, who she felt carried her throughout until she was cancer-free, only a year after the diagnosis. Louis-Dreyfus also shared that her relationship with her family and close friends grew stronger as they constantly surrounded the comedienne in support.

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After Battling Cancer, Julia Became a Breast Cancer and Environmental Activist

In September 2018, Louis-Dreyfus partnered with Saks for the company's breast cancer campaign to raise funds for the Alliance in Reconstructive Surgery Foundation.

In 2020, she joined the Board of Trustees for the National Resource Defense Council environmental advocacy group to do her part in saving the earth.

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The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, and images contained on news.AmoMama.com, or available through news.AmoMama.com is for general information purposes only. news.AmoMama.com does not take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this article. Before undertaking any course of treatment please consult with your healthcare provider.

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