Martin Bashir, the current Nightline broadcaster, just announced that he has a "potentially life-threatening" brain tumor. Bashir, who made his name with big, probing, salacious TV interviews of Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, said that he plans to "get on with his life" and continue working. In that, he is hardly unique; among many cancer victims, the urge to continue with one's career is a powerful one. And that goes double for those in entertainment and the media, where many personalities are so intimately tied to a very public line of work.
If Bashir continues to appear on Nightline, he'll be just the latest manifestation of the eternal desire to work through crisis. Patrick Swayze, the dirty-dancing actor who just months ago announced a dire case of pancreatic cancer, just got clearance from his doctors to return to acting—which he will do in the upcoming season of the A&E network show The Beast.
Mike Wallace, the prototypical broadcast journalist who is both older and more respected than Bashir, retired from 60 Minutes for health reasons in 2006, but couldn't stay away forever; he hung on to his "correspondent" role even through a recent heart surgery. Others take the quiet route; word is that English filmmaker Anthony Minghella, who died in March at the age of 54, kept news of his cancer from his business partner, Sydney Pollack.
Ultimately, the urge to keep on plugging away at a career no matter what the prognosis is completely understandable, and perhaps fundamentally representative of successful people. But recuperation, it goes without saying, should come first; no TV show is worth killing yourself for.