Actress Opens Up About Autism Diagnosis
She starred beside Tom Hanks and dated John F. Kennedy Jr. and now a one-time A-lister says she was diagnosed with autism as a youngster and doctors recommended she be institutionalized.
Daryl Hannah, 52, who starred in the 1980s blockbusters “Splash” and “Wall Street” tells People Magazine that she suffered from “debilitating shyness” as a result of her autism diagnosis.
Hannah says she “checked out” at school and rocked incessantly — something she still does today — and doctors recommended that she be medicated and institutionalized, ideas that her mother rejected.
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Movies became a way to cope and at age 17, Hannah moved from her home in Chicago to Los Angeles with her eye on the silver screen.
Hiding her diagnosis from movie executives, Hannah found success in Hollywood, but never felt comfortable with fame. She refused to appear on talk shows or attend premieres “not because I was above it,” she says, “but because I was terrified.”
“I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention,” Hannah said. “It’s always freaked me out.”
Today, Hannah leads a quieter life primarily focusing on environmental activism.
“Life is too short to stress the small things anymore,” she says.