Actor Stacy Keach is to return to the stage on Friday (27Mar09) - 10 days after suffering a mild stroke.
The Mike Hammer star was hospitalised last week (17Mar09) and spent six days under observation. He returned home on Monday (23Mar09) and will pick up his role as President Richard Nixon in a tour of hit play Frost/Nixon at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
The 67 year old has missed 11 performances of the show, which was turned into a hit film last year (08), and he can't wait to get back before an audience.
He tells the Los Angeles Times newspaper, "I cant tell you how grateful I am and relieved. I feel deeply blessed."
Recalling the events which led up to his stroke, Keach explains he felt "a little tingling" in his right arm during a performance of the play in Cincinnati, Ohio earlier this month (Mar09) and it returned during the play's first night in Los Angeles last week.
Keach says, "I quickly tried to focus and refocus."
The actor knew he had a big problem when he found himself slurring his speech during a radio interview the following morning: "I realised I wasnt making sense... I knew something wasnt happening properly with my motor response.
A doctor gave him a shot of vitamin B12 and Keach figured his health issues had passed as he appeared in five weekend performances and then hosted a cast get-together at his home in Calabasas, California on 16 March (09).
The following morning he awoke with severe pain in his right arm, and his wife called the paramedics, who took him to hospital. After a series of tests he was told he'd suffered a series of minor strokes.
Keach insists the health scare has forced him to take better care of himself - he has vowed to stop smoking and he'll be taking more rest days on the Frost/Nixon tour. He won't appear in the upcoming weekend matinees.
The actor, who has been playing Nixon onstage since September (09), hopes to complete the tour, which ends in May (09).