Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Dexter' star Michael C. Hall in Remission

When 'Dexter' star Michael C. Hall was diagnosed with a potentially deadly form of cancer last year, he thought his worst nightmare might be coming true. The actor says he had always wondered whether he'd live to be 39, the age at which his father died of prostate cancer when he was just a little boy. Hall was 38 when he found out he had Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"I think I've been preoccupied since I was 11, and my father died, with the idea of the age 39: Would I live that long? What would that be like?" Hall told The New York Times. "To discover that I had the Hodgkin's was alarming, but at the same time I felt kind of bemused, like: Wow. Huh. How interesting."

But his 39th birthday came and went in February, with Hall's cancer in remission. The actor, who plays a sympathetic serial killer on the hit Showtime series, had announced the previous month that he was undergoing chemotherapy.

To discover he'd developed a disease that could be fatal shortly before his 39th birthday while he was starring in a show about death seemed like a doubly uncanny coincidence.

Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma while he was in the midst of filming the fourth season of 'Dexter.' He says he kept his illness a secret on the set. Shortly after he disclosed that he had cancer, he accepted a best actor Golden Globe wearing a knitted cap, since the chemo had left him bald. Many in the audience were moved to tears.

The effects of the treatment have now completely worn off. Hall says he feels newly energized.

But the actor doesn't think it's happenstance that the characters he's played on TV have a tendency toward repression -- first the closed-off funeral director David Fisher on 'Six Feet Under' and now the reserved, guarded Dexter Morgan on 'Dexter.'

Hall speculates that it's because he, too, is repressed.

"Maybe it has to do with not knowing quite what to do with the storm of feelings that accompanied my father's death. Maybe it's a learned behavior," he told the Times. "Now I'm taking it to the bank."

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