Churchill's Secret Thyroid?

Sir Michael Gambon did an outstanding job playing Winston Churchill in the recent movie "Churchill's Secret". But after watching the movie, all I could do was think about what was going on with Winnie's thyroid.

His "black dog" depressions were legendary. And now, his history of cardiovascular problems have been brought to the attention of the general public. I have to assume that Lord Moran, his doctor, was completely ignorant about the 300+ symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.

Are there any history buffs here who know anything about this?

14 Replies

  • Maybe he had a thyroid problem but it was kept secret. Sir Thomas Dunhill was a thyroid specialist appointed to look after Churchill's hernia repair!

  • I haven't seen the film, but I've thought for a long time that he just had to have had a thyroid problem. Just looking at him makes you think that.

  • I am interested in history, and now as I read, or think about my own health, it seems things I have taken as given, may have contained a large health component Were parents bad and uncaring or overwhelmed by deficits, physical and financial. Then the picture can change and make it a different story.

  • Don't forget Winston liked a drink and smoked cigars for most of his life, this must have contributed to any ill health.

  • Churchill's sharp, brilliant intellect and ferocious energy levels were legendary........

    ... hmmm. I'm not thinking thyroid issue here!!!

  • At a slight tangent, I recently found out Ronaldo, the recently retired, possibly best footballer of all time had a thyroid problem.

    I am not into football, but have several friends who are, and they mention him occasionally. I assumed they must know this, and felt slightly hurt no one had mentioned it to me, so I asked them all about it. None of them knew!

    So then I started googling around, and realised all I had found out came from thyroid or other health sites. All the sports and news sites just said his health had generally declined and he had to retire. There was even an incident recently with another player making jokes about his weight, and that player was widely condemned. But nowhere could I find people condemning him because it was an illness he was mocking.

    Personally, for me finding out about Ronaldo has been helpful. He's the first sports personality I've looked into who has really struggled. He played for a few years after it began, but had lots of injuries and possibly a heart attack, had to retire fairly young, and has gained a serious amount of weight. This is in contrast to a baseball player I vaguely knew of who went straight back to playing. There's this general idea that if you're fit enough and determined enough you can push past it. But Ronaldo is one of the fittest, and he couldn't continue.

    The reason I connect this to your question is that it seems very hard to find out what Ronaldo's illness was. It's not public knowledge to his fans, and its not mentioned by name in mainstream news items about his failing health. It's completely pushed under the rug. I think this is a huge shame as he can be a comfort to people like us. But I bet this practice, of not talking about it, is even more so around Churchill. I'm sure many history buffs don't know, just as many football buffs don't know about Ronaldo. In both cases it's a scandal! Would be brilliant to write a book one day with short biographies of all the great people who gave had thyroid problems!

  • I just think about how in high school, I had near-constant lower leg injuries and could never really improve. Even now, soft tissue leg pain escalates with the rest of my symptoms.

  • Yea, it would be great if these kinds of patterns of symptoms could be in public discourse.

    I think lots of people like Oprah or Gwyneth Paltrow who have thyroid problems are just vaguely seen as health obsessive, being silly and falling for all kinds of remedies. That's the big story, rather than the illness and symptoms.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow has thyroid problems? I guess that makes it more of a shame she sells crystal-healing type products:(

  • I agree, just look at the lead up to the lastest USA presidential election. Trump used Clinton's thyroid illness as a stick to beat her with, saying she was too weak to govern. Imagine revealing that about Churchill during the war years, what a piecr of propaganda that would have been

  • Thank you, Helvella! Your list is the place I originally found out about him!

  • I have read several books about Churchill recently but this has never been mentioned, I would certainly have remembered it. Currently reading about Operation Sealion, the plans for the Nazi attack on England in summer/autumn of 1940. Without Churchill history could easily have been very different. It was a lot closer to happening than is often made out.

    I still have some more I haven't read yet, will post here if I see anything.

  • I know thyroid wasn't well understood because my grandad got put in an asylum in the 40's eventually some bright spark removed his thyroid and he recovered (died at 66 to emphysema though)

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