Hollywood Actor leaves the big screen for a new stage, Rochester

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(ABC 6 News) — It is the biggest night in Hollywood and an actor familiar with the Oscars is in Rochester.

From red carpet fashion to the bright lights on one of the biggest stages, it’s a night celebrating the movie industry and the people bringing those cinemas to life. Hollywood actor Michael York looks back on his life on the red carpet from a comfortable couch at Mayo Clinic’s Charter House.

"Like the rest of the world, we like to watch it at home," York said.

After decades of acting in films like the Three Musketeers, Romeo and Juliet, Cabaret and Austin Powers, to theater, radio and voice overs, York is now reading the lines of a new script. One that takes place in Rochester, Minnesota.

"I mean the pace is slower, people are politer, I hear it is Minnesota nice, and it really exists," York said.

The actor moved to Minnesota after his health started failing. He began noticing symptoms on set in 2012. "I had big amyloid deposits around my eyes which were sorta like purple eyes, which are a big giveaway," said York, "I could use to a certain extent, make-up to cover the panda eyes, but there was also fatigue involved."

York was diagnosed with Amyloidosis, which is a rare blood disease. It was at Mayo Clinic that he found his medical team and a treatment plan including a stem cell transplant.

"I want to sing the praises of Mayo, because they set me right," said York.

However, in 2017 his health took a turn. The disease compromised his voice, but not his message. "What I’m trying to do is bring awareness to Amyloidosis, because it is misunderstood," York said.

"What we decided, is rather than commuting from L.A. all this while, we would check out living here," York said.
"I wondered if one could live with this, but in the end, we made this decision."

Just like his career, every decision opened up a new chapter and one of his favorites, was when he met the love of his life.

"It was like lust at first sight, lust and then love," chuckled Pat York. "It was the 60’s," giggled York.

They spent the 70s, 80s and every decade since, together.

"The most important thing in my life was for Michael to get well and this is actually the place that saved his life," said Pat.

Life these days, is quiet on set. But when the Oscars are on, York can’t help, but reflect.

"I remember the first time I was on the Oscar show, I was giving out an Oscar award and it was the year that Charlie Chaplin came back," said York, "I was in the men’s room, and I glance at the man next to me, it was Charlie Chaplin, I was so stupid, I was so overwhelmed, I said good morning, and he gravely looked at me like an idiot and said good morning," chuckled York.

"I felt so angry with myself for not telling him thank you for all you given to our profession," he said.

As the curtain closes on York’s profession, he says he looks forward to Minnesota’s stage.

"I’ve been very lucky because I know many actors who never got the opportunity I had, although they are enormously deserving of it, I was able to get this big break early and get my foot in the door of a movie actor," said York.

"I really look forward to this new chapter of possibilities."

Oscar night was also York’s 80th birthday and his 54th wedding anniversary with his wife Pat. To celebrate, they say the look forward staying in a cabin on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes this year.