Famed ‘Taxi’ Star Marilu Henner Raises Alzheimer’s Awareness


By: David DiPino Contributing Writer

She played Elaine O’Connor Nardo on “Taxi” and was in the original “Grease” musical but nowadays Marilu Henner is known more for her hyperthymesia – total recall memory.

She recently joined local lawyer Pamela Higer Polani’s 5th Annual Brain Bowl at Boca West Country Club to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and dementia.

She shared with The Brooklyn Café radio hosts Dawn Graubert and Freddy Santory to talk about what brought her to Boca Raton and Delray Beach during an interview at The Heart of Delray Gallery Radio Studio before the big event.

Proceeds of the 5th Annual Brain Bowl supported the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Community Care, FAU Memory Wellness Center and the Parkinson’s Foundation, according to organizers.

“I do a lot of work for Alzheimer’s and Us Against Alzheimer’s and I’ve spoken in front of Congress, in fact, last September I was there talking about more money for research and how important it is. The thing is these diseases don’t affect just one part of your brain… What they use us for those with HSAM (highly superior autobiographical memory) is they wire us, put us through an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and they (medical researchers and scientists) found nine areas larger than the normal brain, so they’re testing how our neurological pathways fire-up,” Henner said.

She is one of only 40 people nationally who have been proven to have highly superior autobiographical memory. Henner can remember what day of the week and the date of almost every major occurrence of her life including when she landed the Taxi role.

“Basically you can give me any date during my lifetime and I can tell you what I was doing on that day. It was something I was definitely born with and something I have (worked to further) develop,” Marilu Henner told Freddy Santory and Dawn Graubert, TV/radio hosts of The Brooklyn Café.

Freddy Santory, the host on the The Brooklyn Café looked terrified when Marilu Henner took the set because he thought his limited IQ and memory would be challenged and put to the test live in the studio during the interview.

“I just want you to know to save any conflict we are not doing any puzzles on-set with you (Freddy Santory) and Marilu Henner. I got your back on this one Freddy,” joked and laughed his comrade of radio, Dawn Graubert.

Polani has worked tremendously hard to build the 5th Annual Brain Bowl.

“I started working with the Alzheimer’s Association several years ago, unfortunately, one in three seniors right here in our community are being diagnosed with some form of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease or dementia. We are overwhelmed. We do have a very philanthropic community and one that’s very supportive. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful with an attitude of gratitude that we have celebrity Marilu Henner around to help us this year because it is definitely going to bring more awareness to what we’re trying to do,” said Polani.

“Everyone in our committee is a volunteer and we get everything donated (for the 5th Annual Brain Bowl). Every sponsor brings us closer to finding a cure and helps people who are right now living with these diseases.”

Listen to the interview with Marilu Henner on: facebook.com/thebrooklyncafetv.