Dean Winters on the Darkest Time in His Life

I had 17 surgeries, nine amputations [after contracting a bacterial infection in 2009].

I was out of the game for three years. I’m OK now.

It taught me that life is short and art is long—one of my favorite quotes.

When you lose toes and half a thumb, and half my nose fell off, the last thing you think you’ll ever do is work again.

I wasn’t at the height of my career, but I had just done the pilot for Happy Town and was doing 30 Rock.

I was on a roll, but my clock got stopped.

I thought I was done. I was told I was never going to walk again.

It was the darkest time of my life.

I was in a hospital, feeling sorry for myself. I had a nurse who took me down to the children’s burn unit and I saw kids playing soccer with prosthetic legs.

That was the moment I turned everything around.

I‘m a much more soulful actor [now], I think.

I take my time more than I used to. Now I have physical limitations. I can’t walk without shoes on, barefoot. I used to be a fighter, a great boxer. I can’t do that anymore.

It’s hard when I have to go to a writer and say ‘I can’t do that,’ but everyone has been great to me.

Right before I got hurt and sick I was in a negative place about the business. I wasn’t appreciating it for what it is.

Now I really appreciate the community—the actors, writers, producers—and I love what I do for a living.”

~ Dean Winters


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