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Carol Burnett Joins the Cast of Washington Couple’s Play About Alzheimer’s Disease

George and Trish Vradenburg take “Surviving Grace” to Los Angeles to raise money for disease research.

Carol Burnett. Photograph by s_bukley /

Washington activists George and Trish Vradenburg are taking their quest to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease on the road, with some star power in tow. 

Carol Burnett has agreed to play the role of the mother in a reading of Trishs play, Saving Grace, which will be staged in Los Angeles on September 25. The play is based on Trishs own mothers struggle with Alzheimers disease. Trish appears in the form of a harried sitcom writer, her former profession, trying to come to grips with the slow decline of her fearless and independent mom (Grace). Loni Anderson is also taking on a supporting role, as the new girlfriend of Graces lonely husband. 

I wrote a profile of the Vrandeburgs for the magazine last year. Theyve dedicated their time, and their personal fortune, to finding a cure for Alzherimers by 2020. The play has become an unconventional yet apparently effective way to get people to talk about the disease, which the Vradenburgs say “hides out” people’s families, a shame that they’re afraid to address publicly. 

The Vradenburgs staged a reading last year at the Phillips Collection to raise money for cure and treatment research. Diane Rehm played the mom, joined by Marilu Henner and a cast that included Terry Moran, Dan Glickman, and Meryl Comer. 

Trish tells me that the casting credit for Burnett goes to Rehm. She gave a copy of the play to the legendary comic actor, who was also on Rehms show in April to talk about her new book, Carrie and Me, about Burnetts relationship with her late daughter, Carrie Hamilton, who struggled with addiction. 

The fundraiser/reading will be staged at Warner Brothers Studio, Trish says. It will move on to San Diego for a reading on September 27. 

See Also:
Forget Me Not: One Couple’s Battle Against Alzheimer’s

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  • Betty

    Even though I have no hope of ever seeing the play since we live in a small town miles away from any big city, I'd like to see this on TV as a fund raiser for Alzheimer's! We have so many TV specials and advertisements for so many other things - all good - but very little for Alz which affects millions of people! I'm watching my husband decline daily for three years now with very little hope of help or cure! We MUST get this out to the public so they are aware of what is happening and will keep happening! There are always ads and fund raisers for breast cancer, why not Alz which kills more people than cancer, which at least offers cures! I actually saw the very first TV ad for Alz ad this morning and I applaud it! Only comment was that the voice over was so quiet it was hard to hear. Gave the impression that she was ashamed ?

  • Cheryl

    I am so glad to hear about this play. I have always loved Carol Burnett and this makes me love her even more. My Dad died of A.D., 9 years ago this Thursday. His birthday was September 25th ....the day it will be in L.A. That makes me smile as well.

  • davee44

    Researchers in Europe and S.Amerca showed that a special combination of natural ingredients was reversing dementia and Alzheimer's in even late stages. It worked..but when the drug makers found out that all the ingredients were natural and they could not profit off the diet they dropped the researchers. The diet was still online in many countries, it worked

    just google "MAL ALZHEIMER"

  • Clinton Hammond

    "Drug Makers" make TONS of profits off medicines with "Natural" ingredients every day. Umm... aspirin... d'uh...

    So, even if your claim is correct, I very much doubt that it had anything to do with not being able to profit from it. I'd be much more willing to bet that this so called diet was bunkum.

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