NCIS star Brian Dietzen on ‘terrifying’ stroke ordeal

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NCIS has seen plenty of changes in terms of its casting over the past two decades with almost all of its original faces now moved on to pastures new.

Actor Brian Dietzen may not have been in the CBS drama from the very beginning, but he did come in as Donald “Ducky” Mallard’s (David McCallum) assistant near the end of series one.

So it’s no wonder why NCIS fans think of his character Jimmy Palmer as an original member of the crime-fighting team.

His job is to accompany the agents at crime scenes, see if there’s any clear indicators of how someone died as well take further inspection back at NCIS headquarters.

But back in 2020, actor Dietzen had his own medical emergency when he suffered from a stroke.

Dietzen lost control of the muscles in his face and hands but it was actually thanks to his Apple Watch that he was able to get help.

“I had a dual embolic stroke in my cerebellum. My hands were all curled up, and it was terrifying,” Dietzen explained to Outsider.

“The Apple Watch saved my life. I was on the floor of my bathroom, throwing up, and I pulled out my phone and I was like, ‘Oh —, I can’t use my fingers.’

“And so I said, ‘Hey, Siri, call Kelly,’ and called my wife and I said, ‘I need help’.”

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A post shared by Brian Dietzen (@briankdietzen)

Dietzen was able to regain the movement in his face and hands shortly after the scary incident as the blood clot in his brain had moved on.

He said that he felt “really blessed” as the actor had a “really healthy cardiovascular system”.

Since having the stroke, it appears Dietzen likes to remain reasonably active, going by his social media.

He often posts about his extracurricular activities away from work, including running, skiing, swimming and playing golf.

NCIS season 20 will continue with its 20th episode which is called Second Opinion.

The official description reads: “NCIS works to solve the murder of a senator’s daughter who has a rebellious reputation and large online following.

“Also, Jimmy gets competitive with an old college rival.”

NCIS season 20 continues every Monday on CBS in the USA.

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