Mother and Son actor Henri Szeps reveals battle with Alzheimer's disease


Australian actor Henri Szeps – who played dentist Robert in classic sitcom Mother and Son – reveals his battle with Alzheimer’s disease


Australian actor Henri Szeps has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.

Henri, who played dentist Robbie Beare in 1980s sitcom Mother and Son, discussed his ongoing struggles on the ABC TV series Just Between Us.

Joined by his son, ABC broadcaster Josh Szeps, the pair spoke about how his condition had affected their family.

Struggles: Australian actor Henri Szeps, who played dentist Robbie Beare in 1980s sitcom Mother and Son, has revealed his battle with Alzheimer's disease

Struggles: Australian actor Henri Szeps, who played dentist Robbie Beare in 1980s sitcom Mother and Son, has revealed his battle with Alzheimer’s disease

‘Dad has dementia, technically Alzheimer’s,’ Josh said in the documentary, which is about different families sharing their ‘intimate stories, secrets and truths’.

‘For us, it’s about understanding how to support him and, most of all really, support mum in her support of him, so that we can sustain a normal life for all of us as long as humanly as possible.’

The filmmakers recorded Henri watching an episode of Mother and Son in the family home.

‘I don’t know,’ he said when asked about his condition. ‘I refuse to hide behind it, it’s there. All I can say is, all’s well that ends well.’

Josh explained his father had been born in a refugee camp in Switzerland and raised by a foster family before he was ‘sent back to his mother in Paris’.

He eventually settled into Australia as part of the wave of migrants that immigrated into the country following World War II.

'I refuse to hide behind it, it's there': Szeps, who starred as dentist Robbie on 1980s ABC sitcom Mother and Son, joined his son and ABC broadcaster Josh Szeps to speak about his ongoing struggles on Just Between Us. Pictured with wife Mary Ann Severne

‘I refuse to hide behind it, it’s there’: Szeps, who starred as dentist Robbie on 1980s ABC sitcom Mother and Son, joined his son and ABC broadcaster Josh Szeps to speak about his ongoing struggles on Just Between Us. Pictured with wife Mary Ann Severne

Josh said his father was still a ‘barrel of laughs’ who ‘makes fun of himself constantly’ after his dementia caused habitual forgetfulness.

Henri added: ‘Everybody around me might know that it’s going, the brain’s going, but I don’t. I still think I’m right on the ball!’ 

He restated his son’s point about staying positive attitude in regard to his condition and said the best way to cope is to ‘take it as it is and love it’.

Outlook: The Mother and Son star reinforces his son's point about his positive attitude in regards to his condition and believes the best way to cope is to 'take it as it is and love it'

Outlook: The Mother and Son star reinforces his son’s point about his positive attitude in regards to his condition and believes the best way to cope is to ‘take it as it is and love it’

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