Lupus in the Media: Television Shows, Movies and More Where Lupus Was Featured or Part of the Character or Storyline

 

Even after House, M.D.has mentioned the word Lupus in almost every episode of the television show, Lupus is still not a well known disease. I know a little part of me jumped up and got all excited when I heard the word Lupus on TV the first time. I will never forget the moment. I thought that maybe some how it meant that I was no longer the girl with that “weird disease” that noone knows about. Maybe if people heard the word “lupus”, or related to a character that was living with lupus, they would be more compelled to find a cure.

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So I have tried to compile a list of Lupus in the Media. I chose not to include medical statistics or news broadcasts, and focussed specifically on television shows, documentaries, and movies where Lupus was featured or part of the storyline. I have derived this information from a variety of sources like newspaper articles, websites etc. I believe this list to be true and accurate. The list below is in no particular order. If you have anyone to add, or delete- please contact me using the contact us form in the top tool bar.


Television:
* One Life to Live (Soap Opera) Dr. Margaret “Marty” Saybrooke and Megan Gordon (1989) Both characters on the show had lupus, the character Megan died from Lupus in the storyline.
*Seinfeld Season 2: Episode 13: “The Heart Attack” While at a restaurant with Jerry and Elaine, George claims to be having a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital. While interupting the doctor’s real diagnosis (needing his tonsils removed) George blurts out a few diagnosis, one of them being Lupus!
* Robert Bazell, NBC News Chief science correspondent, debuted a new series, called “Medical Mysteries,” the focus of which is autoimmune diseases. Lupus was the first autoimmune disease to be featured.
ABC News Specials Medical Mysteries: Episodes 1-6
* House, M.D. After being ruled out many times during the past four seasons, Dr. Gregory House finally made a diagnosis of lupus. In episode 408, entitled “You Don’t Want to Know,” Dr. House diagnoses a magician with lupus, after the magician has several seizures and his kidneys start to shut down. (Also season 4, episode 1 – the janitor’s grandma has Lupus)
* HOUSE, “A Walk in the Woods”, Episode 149 Original Air Date, 02.15.01 A recourring character “Bishop Stewart” (and elderly man) comes in with an acute lupus flare.
* ER Season Finale, – May 15, 2008; Patient brought into the ER with Lupus and has a seizure.
ER – The Complete First Seven Seasons
* TLC’s A Baby Story (Reality Show)- June 25th, 2008; Showed the story of a woman with Lupus having a baby.
* “The Simpsons” A Star Is Born Again” Original Air Date: 2 March 2003(Season 14, Episode 13) In this episode they refer to a “Lupus Fun Run,” where they are running in the park for a lupus charity. At the very end you hear one of the characters, “Nelson Muntz” yells “Lupus Sucks!” Also, a little weird side note, during the episode Homer randomly coughs and a purple butterfly (those being symbols for lupus) randomly comes out of his mouth.
Buy The Simpson’s Episode through Amazon.com
* Keeping Kids Healthy (PBS and American Public Television) Nationally Syndicated Won a 2005 New York Emmy Award (11/ 2005) re-aired (2/ 2006, 3/ 2006, 6/2006) EPISODE 401 – Lupus: A Medical Mystery. Christine Miserandino and her mother was featured in this episode. For more information and to view this episode click here.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – Jon sings with a choir and uses Lupus as an analogy of something attacking itself. He states that “Fox News is the Lupus of News”.
 

Movies:
Gross Anatomy1989) stars Mathew Modine and Daphne Zuniga. Christine Lahti played the doctor/teacher who had Lupus. She confides in one of her students.

Comics:

Doonesbury Comic– May 3rd quotes the above mentioned Jon Stewart refrence to “the lupus of news”.

*If you enjoyed reading this list, you might also enjoy: Lupus In The Media: “Famous” People Living with Lupus

List compiled by Christine Miserandino and the butyoudontlooksick.com staff, ©
* Please do not copy this list without permission from the author. We encourage linking.

©2019butyoudontlooksick.com
  • Lynda Smeelie

    what makes a family, one of the actresses has lupus in the show and sadly dies from it.

  • Random guy

    Arrested Development S4E7 has a gag that involves a woman with lupus. And get this, the guy hitting on the woman is a magician just like in House MD.

  • Jordan Marie Jeranek

    In the episode of 30 Rock titled “The Fighting Irish,” Nathan Lane played Jack’s brother Eddie Donaghy. During a discussion of the rotten things they did to each other in the past, Eddie shouts out “I convinced you you had Lupus!” I love Nathan Lane, and that line put me on the floor because I was laughing so hard.

  • Timujin

    There was a really good movie in the early 80’s that had a woman with Lupus. I remember it as fairly informative and was the first time I’d heard of the disease as a tween/teen. I think she was a helpful, and inspirational support character for a boy as the main character. I can’t find it in searches. Anyone have an idea? I think it’s a great movie for any reason, but that was a long time ago; I’ve forgotten a lot since then.

  • Simone

    I’ve just seen two broke girls and there was a joke including lupus, “you forced a gay guy to go out with me? Who am I, The girl with lupus at the prom?”
    I was a bit shocked because its a negative comment about having lupus on t.v.
    I have serve lupus and I’ve been more ill than well since being diagnosed at 18, but I think it’s important to take things lightly, and see the funny side of things. It’s the only way I can cope with the daily struggles and the pain: laugh and make fun of myself, it stops my loved ones from worrying to much too. But that’s me now, that comment will probaly hurt young girls just been diagnosed with lupus like I was, I was one of my worse fears, not being disireable, I now know if someone is put off their not worth bothering with. Not every guy is like that, love to all with lupus x together we are not alone x ( I know that sounds abit odd but having lupus is a lonely condition)

  • Kris

    I actually just watched a Hallmark Movie called “finding a Family” The Main character, a 17 year old boy, Found a Foster Home. His foster Sister mentioned she had Lupus. she briefly talked about Her Flares and mentioned she had Chest Pain so bad that made her collapse on the bathroom floor.

  • Anna

    Lupus is also mentioned in an episode of Fringe (season 2, episode 2). I wasn’t very happy with it. They portrayed it as if it was totally impossible for a woman with SLE to have children because her body would reject the baby – which is obviously not true. 

  • Bella

    Your article show how little is actual seen about lupus. I was surprised to realize how little attention it receives as opposed to how many lives it affects.

  • Janet

    A couple of seasons back, “What Not To Wear” helped a teacher getting over a flare learn to dress her changing (due to prednisone) body. Sensitively done.

  • Gina

    The character “Claudette” on (now sadly cancelled) “The Shield” had Lupus and it was an important part of the story line in the last season.

  • Lupus features in another episode of Seinfeld: season 3, “The Suicide”. George goes to see a psychic but annoys her. The psychic refuses to tell him anything so he shouts out suggestions such as “Is it a plane crash? or lupus?”

  • Janene

    A long time ago, (the 70’s)around the time I was diagnosed, I saw an episode of Marcus Welby, MD, and the patient (a young woman) was diagnosed with Lupus.

  • Coincidentally, Lupus was briefly mentioned as a possible reason for death on an episode of CSI:NY I watched last week! It turned out the dead person had actually had radiation poisoning but the “butterfly” rash and hair loss had me wondering.

  • Connie

    I recall that lupus was also mentioned in one episode of “Dr. G, Medical Examiner.” (Aired December 21, 2007) At first it seemed the woman in question died of a pulmonary embolism (after a flight to Florida and vacationing in Orlando).

  • Emma

    Hi,
    Great article.
    I just wanted to add that a major character in the Australian hospital drama ‘All Saints’ has lupus.
    Yvonne ‘Von’ Ryan played by Judith McGrath is a nurse who has Lupus. I never watched the show properly so I don’t know how accurately it is portrayed.