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CNN Founder Ted Turner Opens Up About Battle With Dementia

CNN founder Ted Turner opens up about his battle with a brain disorder that is causing dementia in an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning” to air this weekend.

Turner tells “CBS Sunday Morning” senior contributor Ted Koppel he is grappling with a condition known as Lewy body dementia.

“It’s a mild case of what people have as Alzheimer’s. It’s similar to that. But not nearly as bad. Alzheimer’s is fatal,” Turner says. “Thank goodness I don’t have that. But, I also have got, let’s – the one that’s – I can’t remember the name of it.”

Following a pause, Turner says, “Dementia. I can’t remember what my disease is.”

Turner build up his Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting System in the 1970s and ’80s to be a cable powerhouse with networks including CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and TCM. Turner sold his empire to Time Warner in 1996. Turner is also known for his philanthropic efforts, most notably donating $1 billion to the United Nations to create its public charity.

Known for his outsize personality and for experiencing “euphoric highs and dark lows,” Turner says he was originally misdiagnosed with manic depression. The candid interview marks the first time Turner has spoken in detail about the severity of his illness.

Turner reveals other aspects about his life today and says while he doesn’t watch the news a lot, he occasionally tunes in to CNN.

“I think they’re stickin’ with politics a little too much,” he says. “They’d do better to have – a more balanced agenda. But that’s, you know, just one person’s opinion.”

Turner also says he thought about running for office when he was married to Jane Fonda, who had previously been married to politician Tom Hayden. But Fonda gave him an ultimatum. Turner recalls Fonda informing him: “If you run for, for office, you run alone.”

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