Jack Hanna was diagnosed with dementia, considered Alzheimer’s disease – Deadline

Jack Hanna, the wildlife advocate who starred as David Letterman through decades of comedic animal segments before becoming a full-fledged TV star, is battling what is believed to be the disease Alzheimer’s. This, according to a statement posted on social networks by his family on Wednesday.

“His condition has progressed much faster in the past few months than any of us could have imagined,” the statement read, which said he was initially diagnosed with dementia. “Unfortunately, dad is no longer able to participate in public life like he used to be.”

“Jungle” Jack Hanna became director of the Columbus Zoo in the late 1970s. Realizing the importance of public relations to fundraising and attendance, Hanna hosted a local TV show to boost her visibility. Hanna’s ark, as it was called the show, which aired on CBS’s local Columbus branch, WBNS, from 1981 to 1983.

“In 1983 I was invited to appear on Hello america in New York after the birth of twin gorilla babies at the Columbus Zoo, ” wrote Hanna on her website. “I enthusiastically accepted the invitation knowing it was a great opportunity to educate people across the country about animals. Since then, I have been a regular guest and wildlife correspondent. “

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“Two years later, in 1985,” he recalls, “I appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman for the first time. Dave and I ‘hit it off’ and now I’m a guest The late show several times a year.

His Last show appearances were always as funny as they were educational, with Letterman ribbing a seemingly baffled but passionate Hanna, who always had an animal on her shoulder – or sometimes in her shirt.

Annual attendance at the Columbus Zoo has increased by over 400% under Hanna’s leadership. He was appointed Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 1992.

Hanna published her autobiography, Monkeys on the Interstate, in 1989. He has published 15 books in all.

The union member Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures operated from 1993 to 2008. Jack Hanna is in the wild started in 2007 and has been unionized. Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown lasted nearly ten years from 2011-2020 on ABC.

In a press release announcing his retirement last year, Hanna said on behalf of himself and his wife, “Suzi and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the Central Ohio community and of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium family. Our 42 years at the Columbus Zoo have been the best of our lives – we raised our daughters here and had the honor of revitalizing our zoo alongside a great team while championing wildlife around the world.

The announcement of his condition comes a day after the current CEO and CFO of the Columbus Zoo resigned in the midst of an investigation into their alleged embezzlement.

The Hanna family’s statement requested confidentiality and sought to assure fans that Jungle Jack Hanna is still Jungle Jack Hanna. “Although Dad’s health deteriorated rapidly, we can assure you that his great sense of humor still shines through. And yes, he always wears his khakis at home.

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