Alzheimer's 'is no subject for comedy' | Ronald Reagan's family slam Will Ferrell film © Eva Rinaldi

Alzheimer's 'is no subject for comedy'

Ronald Reagan's family slam Will Ferrell film

Ronald Reagan's children have blasted Will Ferrell over his plans to make a comedy about their father succumbing to Alzheimer's disease.

The Ron Burgundy actor is set to play the late President in a satire set in his second term at the White House. Reagan is shown has having lost his mind to dementia – then convinced by an ambitious intern that he is an actor playing the president in a movie.

Yesterday, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis, an author, wrote an open letter to Ferrell, who will also be producing the film, saying that Alzheimer's is not a suitable subject for comedy.

And in a series of tweets, son Michael Reagan said those involved in the film should be 'ashamed' of themselves, adding: Alzheimer's 'is not a comedy to the 5 million people who are suffering with [the disease], it first robs you of your mind and then it kills you.'

In her letter, Davis told Ferrell: 'Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer's and other versions of dementia. Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous.

'Alzheimer's doesn't care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker. It steals what is most precious to a human being — memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime that we all come to rely on to hold our place secure in this world and keep us linked to those we have come to know and love.

'Alzheimer's is the ultimate pirate, pillaging a person's life and leaving an empty landscape behind. It sweeps up entire families, forcing everyone to claw their way through overwhelming grief, confusion, helplessness, and anger. Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have – I didn't find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you're a decent human being, you wouldn't either.'

The official Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation said 'We couldn't have said it better ourselves.'

Reagan told the American public he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1994, five years after he left office. Some commentators suggested he displayed signs of forgetfulness in the White House, but those closest to him said he did not have the disease while in power. This is not the first time Ferrell has played a US President, having spoofed George Bush a number of times on Saturday Night Live.

Here are some of the tweets from Michael Reagan, who is a motivational speaker and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation:

Published: 29 Apr 2016

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