Plot & Details
Edward Asner stars as Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins in this made-for-TV biopic, which first aired May 15, 1984. Stricken with a degenerative spinal illness in 1964, Cousins refuses to accept the prognosis that he must spend the rest of his life as a virtual vegetable. He battles his illness by using the most potent weapons at his disposal--a healthy sense of humor, the love and support of his wife, and confidence that he will endure. This sort of spiritual battle is not that easy to film, and some of the scenes--Cousins laughing at the opening titles of a Marx Brothers film, for example--sorely test the acting skills of Ed Asner. But both Cousins and Asner emerge triumphant from Anatomy of an Illness, which was based on Norman Cousins' own book on the subject.