Home Entertainment TV’s ghoulish new low: Dementia-hit Wendy Williams is reduced to a sideshow freak as relatives crawl into her fading spotlight. And, blasts MAUREEN CALLAHAN, it’s a heartless and cynical violation even by Hollywood’s dirty standards

TV’s ghoulish new low: Dementia-hit Wendy Williams is reduced to a sideshow freak as relatives crawl into her fading spotlight. And, blasts MAUREEN CALLAHAN, it’s a heartless and cynical violation even by Hollywood’s dirty standards

by Merry
0 comment
In the lead-up to a two-part documentary series airing this weekend on Lifetime, Williams' diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia at the age of 59 was publicly revealed.

Wendy Williams built a career saying terrible things, delighting in other people’s misfortune, chastising celebrities even when she was trying to be one.

But no one, not even Williams, deserves his most terrible fate.

In the lead-up to a two-part documentary series airing this weekend on Lifetime, Williams’ diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia at the age of 59 was publicly revealed.

The moment, even by Hollywood standards, seems ruthless and cynical.

Just look at Williams’ legal guardian, named by TMZ as Sabrina Morrissey and who reportedly filed a last-minute lawsuit against Lifetime’s parent company.

The lawsuit is sealed, but Morrissey also filed a temporary restraining order, which could attempt to prevent the network from airing the series.

Perhaps the lawsuit was sparked by the previous advertising blitz we’ve seen this week.

In the lead-up to a two-part documentary series airing this weekend on Lifetime, Williams' diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia at the age of 59 was publicly revealed.

In the lead-up to a two-part documentary series airing this weekend on Lifetime, Williams’ diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia at the age of 59 was publicly revealed.

The moment, even by Hollywood standards, seems ruthless and cynical. Just look at Williams' legal guardian, named by TMZ as Sabrina Morrissey and who reportedly filed a last-minute lawsuit against Lifetime's parent company.

The moment, even by Hollywood standards, seems ruthless and cynical. Just look at Williams' legal guardian, named by TMZ as Sabrina Morrissey and who reportedly filed a last-minute lawsuit against Lifetime's parent company.

The moment, even by Hollywood standards, seems ruthless and cynical. Just look at Williams’ legal guardian, named by TMZ as Sabrina Morrissey and who reportedly filed a last-minute lawsuit against Lifetime’s parent company.

“The Fight to Save Wendy Williams” is the cover story of People magazine, titled “Addiction, Health Struggles, A Family in Crisis.”

Meanwhile, Williams’ niece Alex Finnie, a little-known local Miami news anchor, is savoring the big moment, making the rounds on ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘The View.’

Everything feels disgusting. As anyone who loves someone with dementia knows, their personal dignity is the first thing to be lost.

For that to be stripped away so publicly, when Williams appears to have no capacity to assent, is particularly appalling.

‘Where is Wendy Williams?’ She began filming in August 2022, just weeks after she was fired from her talk show. Williams was then 57 years old and she was losing the only things that seemed important to him: her influence, her wealth, her fame.

The documentary was a last-ditch attempt to save his reputation, shattered after a long public meltdown involving heavy substance abuse; a collapse in the air, dressed as the Statue of Liberty; the long extramarital relationship of her husband, from whom she had a son; being photographed drunk and passed out in a Louis Vuitton store; a gloomy period in a sober, dilapidated longhouse; and reports that staff on her show often found bottles of liquor hidden throughout the set, even under the ceiling panels.

“All I know is how to be famous,” Williams says in the documentary’s trailer. ‘I have no money.’

At her peak, Williams earned $10 million a year as the host of her titular talk show.

She had an unexpected admirer in John Oliver, who called her “an oasis of truth in a world full of lies,” even though she had revealed that a famous rapper’s wife had cancer (she had not yet told some members of the group). your family) or other illnesses. celebrities as gay, or made fun of her appearance, her weight, her lack of intelligence.

“She looks like she has a fifth-grade education,” he once said of Beyoncé.

While he was alive, Williams falsely claimed that Tupac Shakur had been raped while serving time.

He said young men who claimed Michael Jackson sexually assaulted them were lying to “grab money” and that a 14-year-old girl who claimed R. Kelly sexually assaulted her had given her “consent.”

Williams could certainly be terrible. Despicable, even.

Everything feels disgusting. As anyone who loves someone with dementia knows, their personal dignity is the first thing to be lost.

Everything feels disgusting. As anyone who loves someone with dementia knows, their personal dignity is the first thing to be lost.

Everything feels disgusting. As anyone who loves someone with dementia knows, their personal dignity is the first thing to be lost.

For that to be stripped away so publicly – when Williams appears to have no capacity to assent – ​​is particularly appalling.

For that to be stripped away so publicly – when Williams appears to have no capacity to assent – ​​is particularly appalling.

For that to be stripped away so publicly – when Williams appears to have no capacity to assent – ​​is particularly appalling.

But her horror always seemed generated by her own self-hatred: when she was a child, her parents criticized her appearance and weighed her every day. She suffered from hyperactivity. She clearly underwent multiple plastic surgeries and she remained married to a man who blatantly cheated on her.

His own celebrity was built on bile, on saying things that were not only controversial but remarkably hateful. That bitterness consumed her.

Of course Wendy Williams was just going to implode. Her complete lack of self-esteem, of any core identity that she didn’t need or depend on her fame, was never going to sustain her.

“I don’t have friends,” he says in the documentary. It’s all too believable and sad.

Instead, he has a personal jeweler and manager, who we see carrying a half-empty bottle of vodka out of his room as Williams demands that he leave her alone.

“I love being famous,” she says. “But family is everything.” It feels like something she would like to believe more than the truth. Her son Kevin Jr. sits on camera to deny allegations that he stole money from his mother.

Her ex-husband tormented her. Her mother died in December 2020. At various times, she has become estranged from her brother and her father.

Now her sister Wanda and her niece are telling People about their addictions and medical problems, and it’s all in sync with this documentary, which stopped filming in April 2023 after the crew discovered Williams at home, eyes on white.

It’s enough to give you goosebumps.

Williams was on the cusp of his dementia diagnosis when he began filming this documentary, meaning he was most likely suffering from notable cognitive declines long before that.

He also suffers from Graves’ disease and lymphedema. The cumulative effects mean that she often looks and sounds mentally ill.

So here not only is Williams being portrayed, with the apparent backing of her family, as a sideshow phenomenon, but they’re also trying to spin her crisis as Britney-adjacent: Williams’ legal guardian will decide if she can ever abandon the facilities that now house it.

‘Did you see a neurologist?’ an off-camera producer asks Williams in the documentary.

‘To find out if I’m crazy?’ Williams responds. ‘Mmm-hmm.’

“I love being famous,” she says. “But family is everything.” It feels like something she would like to believe more than the truth. Her son Kevin Jr. (pictured) sits in front of cameras to deny allegations that he stole money from his mother.

Her ex-husband tormented her. Her mother died in December 2020. At various times, she has become estranged from her brother and her father. (Pictured: ex-husband Kevin Hunter).

Her ex-husband tormented her. Her mother died in December 2020. At various times, she has become estranged from her brother and her father. (Pictured: ex-husband Kevin Hunter).

Her ex-husband tormented her. Her mother died in December 2020. At various times, she has become estranged from her brother and her father. (Pictured: ex-husband Kevin Hunter).

Now his sister Wanda and niece (pictured) are telling People about their addictions and medical issues, and it's all in sync with this documentary. It's enough to give you goosebumps.

Now his sister Wanda and niece (pictured) are telling People about their addictions and medical issues, and it's all in sync with this documentary. It's enough to give you goosebumps.

Now his sister Wanda and niece (pictured) are telling People about their addictions and medical issues, and it’s all in sync with this documentary. It’s enough to give you goosebumps.

The kind of fame Williams built for himself was singularly masochistic. How else to describe raising the cameras to capture his own fall?

If only she had someone to protect her from herself. And who knows? She maybe she did it and she pushed them all away.

But having family members crawl into your increasingly dim spotlight, selling a story that doesn’t have a happy ending, feels too cruel.

“It sounds great,” his niece Alex Finnie told “The View” on Thursday, although she did not say when they last spoke on the phone.

Finnie added that her aunt “is excited about her future.”

That!? Those who suffer from dementia have no future. That’s the kind of painful truth that Williams herself would have been the first to point out.

At least he has this last moment in the sun. But for someone who is declining so terribly that she can’t go on her own publicity tour, it feels like a violation, too far, perhaps, even for Wendy Williams.

You may also like