On the night of the 69th Emmy Gala, everyone waited for Julia-Louis Dreyfus to take the stage to receive her eighth best actress in a comedy series. It was also Cloris Leachman in the actor and actress ranking with the most Emmys: one for “Seinfeld”, one for “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and six for “Veep”.
It was a glorious night and everyone in the audience and at home seemed delighted with the jury’s choice. But Dreyfus was hiding a secret that he would not reveal until the next day.
Two days before the ceremony, the actress was finally seen by her doctor after noticing a small lump in one of her breasts. “He had a biopsy and said, ‘I think you should be prepared for bad news,” she reminded The New Yorker herself.
Still hungover from her overwhelming win and the actress belted with more Emmy wins for the same role, she returned to her office the next day. “I found out on Monday morning that it was cancer.”
Dreyfus didn’t need time to digest the news. That same day, he took out his cell phone, opened Twitter, and told him everything. “Every eighth woman suffers or will develop breast cancer. Today I am one of them. The good news is that, thanks to my union, I have a great circle of loving family and friends and fantastic health insurance. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so we will fight all cancers and achieve universal health care, ”she wrote.
As it turned out later, cancer was just another difficult period in a few troubled years in the life of the eternal Elaine Benes of “Seinfeld”.
She became known for her role in “Seinfeld”
A year before his diagnosis, Dreyfus was preparing for an Emmy again when he received devastating news two days before the ceremony: his father’s death.
Gerard Louis-Dreyfus, aka William, was 84 years old and multimillionaire, President of Louis Dreyfus Energy Services, which traded in the oil and gas markets. And he was remembered in the speech of his daughter who, thanks to “Veep”, took the stage to win another Emmy.
“And finally I want to dedicate this to William, who died on Friday,” she commented emotionally. “I’m glad he liked ‘Veep’ because his opinion was what really mattered.”
With grief in her luggage, she had to prepare for a tough battle against a cancer in the second stage, which forced successive treatments: There were at least six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. “[As mamas] has cheated on me. And I thought I knew her, “he shot out humorously in an interview with” The New Yorker “.
It was an uphill battle. The chemicals caused debilitating nausea and diarrhea, and she was rarely able to digest the food. He developed neuropathy in his feet and hands, and sores began to appear on his face and mouth. It took him a year to regain his strength after the treatments.
Given the diagnosis, the career would inevitably have to be put on hold. With a new season of “Veep” already written and ready to be recorded, it was necessary to rethink the entire process. Even so, Dreyfus insisted on attending the script readings when his body would allow it.
“I just wanted to work,” he revealed. “It’s a challenge, but when are you going to join the train? It’s like skiing or something – just remember to get to the bottom of the hill. Suddenly you look up and it’s been four hours. “
Those were the happiest times. And the blackest? “[Se pensava] that tomorrow could be dead? I never let myself get to that point, ”he revealed. “Don’t get me wrong: I was totally scared. But for a few moments I did not allow myself to be led into that dark corner. I didn’t let it. “
Dreyfus thinks most of the Emmys are the same
Dreyfus documented every step of the treatments on social networks, an open window that, in his opinion, could contain speculation and excessive press attention. And as in the first message, he used the media coverage of the disease to open a political front.
“I knew it was impossible to keep everything private because a lot of people were working with me and I had to say what was going on. I think I thought about it and accepted that. I got a lot of positive feedback and I think people thought it was funny that I approached it with a sense of humor, ”he explained on a trip to Jimmy Kimmel’s show. “And I think it enabled us to have an important conversation about healthcare [nos EUA]. “
The 60-year-old actress has turned her own fight against cancer into a media weapon to promote more and better insurance and health care in the country.
“I imagined what it would be like to face this disease without health insurance – which I have thanks to my union – and I realized it would be utterly terrifying. Everyone should have access to health care. I believed in it before I had cancer and now I am absolutely sure. “
In this interview with Jimmy Kimmel, he also announced his victory over cancer in 2018.
“I have a different view of life today, now that I’ve seen this edge – one that we will all see sooner or later and that you, as an ordinary person, never dare to think about. And why would you do it? What are you doing with it? ”He asked.
The trouble wouldn’t stop there. Her 44-year-old half-sister died of an accidental overdose while recording the last season of “Veep”. Emma was a social worker who worked with children at risk.
A cocktail of alcohol and cocaine proved fatal, and this time there was no getting around the press. “It was a very bad time,” the actress admitted, even though the Dreyfus family’s relationships were very complex and complicated.
After three years of hell, Dreyfus admits to falling into a cliché. “I know it sounds cheesy, but something happens to you when you go through something like this, through a crisis like this, and you are able to help someone who is going through the same thing. It’s comforting in a strange way “
In addition to helping other cancer patients – and continuing political activism for a much-needed revolution in American healthcare – she has done everything she can to do what she does best.
After “Veep” there is a new, huge and completely unlikely challenge: to become a Marvel villain. She made her debut in “O Falcão eo Soldado do Inverno” in the role of Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, the villain with a penchant for comedy.
She unexpectedly reappears in the post-credits scene of “The Black Widow” and according to the latest interview with the President of Marvel Studios, fans can expect further appearances by the actress. A tailor-made role for the actress who is still known today for her role in “Seinfeld”, but who is looking for new nuances. Nevertheless, laughter must always be present.
“I realized that the old cliché of laughing as the best medicine is true,” he shot during the long interview with “The New Yorker”. “I remember those awful chemo sessions where I crammed some friends and family into the small treatment room. My God, I have to cry when I say this, but the truth is, we laughed heartily. “