Celebrities That Live With a Stoma Bag

There are many lifestyle changes to deal with following ostomy surgery. Often, the fallout can affect your mental health negatively. It helps in these situations to remember that many other people have faced, or are facing, the same challenges. 

For some vague reason, it can be extra comforting to know that celebrities have experienced your struggles. After all, society uses famous people as avatars to reflect its foibles back on itself. So let’s learn more about the famous people living with an ostomy bag.

But first, we have to be clear on the basics.

What is an Ostomy?

An ostomy is a change in the way waste exits the body as a result of life-saving surgery. After these procedures, stool or urine will pass through an opening in the abdomen (the stoma) and will be collected by an ostomy pouch. After that, you can empty or dispose of it.

There are three types of ostomy; colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy:

  • Colostomy occurs when only part of the colon is bypassed. Fecal output is generally solid so both closed or drainable pouches will be suitable.
  • Ileostomy occurs when the entire colon is bypassed, usually resulting in liquid fecal output. Here drainable, and in some cases highoutput, pouches are required.
  • A urostomy is created when part or all of the bladder is removed, rerouting urine output to the stoma. This requires a special urostomy system.

Celebrities that Live or Have Lived with a Stoma Bag

Celebrities with a stoma bag are not as rare as you might assume.

Now, if you’re out here googling “George Clooney celebrities with a stoma bag” you might not find anyone that notable on this list (with one presidential exception). Nonetheless, the celebrities below are all unforgettable in their own way.


Jerry Kramer

Jerry Kramer is proof that an ostomy doesn’t need to be a hindrance to an athletic career. He’s a former pro football player with an impressive 11-year career as an offensive lineman for the NFL’s famous Green Bay Packers. During his 6th year in the league, he endured nine intestinal surgeries, including a colostomy.

Incredibly, he fought for his position and returned to play four more seasons for the Packers post-surgery. Today, he’s among the few celebrities with a stoma bag inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Marvin Bush

Another notable personality is Marvin Bush, the son of president George H.W. Bush and brother of president George W. Bush. In 1985, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and underwent life-saving ostomy surgery in 1986.

Even though he keeps a relatively low profile, he uses his famous family name to benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.


Ann Sothern

Ann Sothern was a notable comedic actress with a six decade career spanning 64 movies and more than 175 TV episodes. An unfortunate incident happened when a prop tree fell on her, resulting in a fractured spine and nerve damage. She also developed hepatitis due to a contaminated shot. Many years of surgeries and treatments resulted from these two accidents. 

It was confirmed she received an ostomy later in life, although it is not clear when or why she had the surgery.


Loretta Young

Loretta Young was an A-list Hollywood actress who starred in over 100 films during her decades-long career. These include The Stranger with Orson Welles, The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant and Call of the Wild with Clark Gable. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1948 for her role in The Farmer’s Daughter. Her Loretta Young Show on NBC ran from 1953-1961 and resulted in three Emmy Award wins for Young.

It’s not documented when she had her ostomy, but it was confirmed. It shows that anyone can have these types of diseases, even award-winners!


Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire was a 20th century legend. The singer, actor and choreographer was well known for his exceptional dancing skills and iconic top-hat-and-tails outfits. Over his long career he worked in vaudeville, TV, radio and Hollywood musicals. 

It has long been rumored that Astaire had ostomy surgery in the late 1950’s. This “fact” is often cited by reputable websites. But he was an intensely private person, and no actual evidence of this exists in the public record. There is no mention of ostomy in any biography of Astaire or in his memoir. Nor were there any contemporary news reports.  

So, if the rumors are true, Astaire obviously preferred the public not know, which is his prerogative. We can still take inspiration from his illustrious achievements, ostomy or no. 


Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Supreme Allied Commander of WWII and 34th President of the United States underwent ostomy surgery in June 1956, during his first term as president. This was an emergency procedure to manage a bowel obstruction related to Crohn’s disease.  

Eisenhower would go on to have several more health scares during his presidency. This would eventually lead to the 25th amendment, which created contingencies for presidential incapacitation.

None of his ailments stopped him from being an inspiring leader on the world stage. Through it all, this 5-star general proved that no matter how difficult the medical condition, you can rise to the occasion if you’re determined to reach your goals.

ADAM PAGE is Medical Monks' digital marketing coordinator. He has taken on a variety of roles since joining the organization in 2017, including product specialist, customer service representative and blog editor. He currently oversees all of the Monks' digital communications, including email, video and social media.

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