Dawn Lyn has “vastly improved” following a lengthy health battle that has racked up mounting medical bills for her family.
The former child star of ‘60s sitcom “My Three Sons” and sister to teen idol Leif Garrett fell into a coma following surgery for a brain tumor in October 2022. Her co-star Stanley Livingston told Fox News Digital the actress is still recovering and is hopeful she will be back on her feet by next year.
“I had a brief conversation with her,” said the 72-year-old. “She struggled to speak, but she was communicating verbally. I hope to visit her in the next couple of weeks.”
Livingston, who played Chip Douglas in the series, said he was speaking on behalf of Lyn’s husband John Reese, who has been by his spouse’s side throughout her ordeal.
“Needless to say, it’s been stressful for her husband,” said Livingston. “And it was pretty scary… You can have insurance, you can have great insurance, but for people who have extended stays… your insurance will have a certain cap. And when the money runs out, then what?”
Reese previously told TMZ that Lyn developed bacterial meningitis after she was released from the hospital. She was moved to a different facility where she continues to receive therapy daily. Reese told the outlet that insurance covered the initial surgery and has paid more than $2 million, but that the couple is responsible for the remaining balance. He launched a GoFundMe in June of this year.
“For a while, she wasn’t speaking at all,” said Livingston. “And then about three months later when I called, she would try and answer some questions, which I felt was a big improvement. She’s slowly coming back. And when I spoke to her husband, he said she’s been able to utter some words. He can understand her and she’s feeding herself… It gives doctors hope.”
“We’re hoping that with the physical therapy sessions, they’ll have her back on her feet by December,” Livingston shared. “It’s just a lot for everybody. And we’re talking about someone who’s 59, 60 years old. You never expect something like this to happen to you.”
Livingston said he is speaking out as fans have been reaching out, wondering if there have been any improvements to Lyn’s condition. Several of Lyn’s surviving cast members have rallied around her, offering their support, he said.
“She was my little sister [on the show] so we’re very protective of her,” said Livingston. “She was always super nice to us and always running around, taking care of us… She calls me her big brother and I call her my little sis – I’ve done that for the past 50 years. We all care about her.”
Livingston said that about two weeks before Lyn’s health battle began, they had a “fabulous lunch” where they reminisced about old times. He never suspected something was wrong.
“She didn’t complain of any health issues or maladies,” he recalled. “Sure, when you’re 50+, things can just come out of left field… But from the outside, she looked great… When I later heard the news, I was shocked. At first, I didn’t believe it because I didn’t hear from her husband. He must have had his hands full. And you can’t always believe what you see on social media. But when I called him, he confirmed it was true.”
Lyn played Dodie Douglas on “My Three Sons” from 1969 to 1972. She went on to appear in numerous hit shows including “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Barnaby Jones,” and “Wonder Woman,” among others. Before Lyn became ill, she was cast in a comedy that begins production in 2024. Livingston said she was excited for it.
“Dawn is remembered as a TV star from ‘My Three Sons,’ but most of us are living fairly normal lives,” Livingston explained. “She and her husband have pretty good jobs, and they’ve had a wonderful life together, but nobody expects to find themselves in a hospital for months. So how do people cope with that?”
“I think that’s one thing many people don’t understand about being in showbiz,” Livingston continued. “They think once you attain a certain amount of stardom, the fame and money remain for the rest of your life. That is usually the exception, not the rule.”
According to GoFundMe, Reese claimed that “medical expenses are wearing down a lifetime of savings.” He noted that cards from concerned fans “have made her smile.” He also revealed in his most recent update from Aug. 24 that he’s been “passionately arguing” for Lyn to remain in a rehab facility where she can get the necessary daily therapy for her recovery.
“I think the outpouring of love, cards and flowers means so much to her,” said Livingston. “She may not be able to respond or answer back to people, but her husband keeps her completely informed. He brings her all this stuff to her. When people think you don’t care, that can really affect their recovery. But seeing all the outpouring of love and seeing all the people that want to help goes a long way.”
While Lyn is not “out of the woods yet,” Livingston described his pal as “a fighter.”
“The fact that she can speak is a big step,” he said. “And it gives doctors hope that this individual being treated can recover. And if you keep on fighting, as she has been doing, there can be better days ahead.”
“This can happen to anyone,” he warned. “One day you can feel totally fine, and the next day, your health takes an unexpected turn, no matter how much you try to prepare for anything. And as you get older, things just happen. You could be healthy your whole life and then something happens.”
“I’m not very religious, but I think when many people who care about you are rooting for you, maybe somehow something could be done from above,” he reflected. “That’s what we’re praying for.”