Jewish Journal

Joan Hyler fights for her life [UPDATED]

by Danielle Berrin

August 18, 2008 | 2:26 pm

Shockwaves are circulating throughout the entertainment and Jewish communities in the aftermath of producer/talent manager Joan Hyler’s life-threatening accident.

Hyler, who blended her Hollywood prominence with her passion for Judaism, was struck by a car on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu Friday night on her way to a friend’s house. She is still listed in critical condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where friends and family are reporting through UCLA’s carepages that she was responsive to doctors’ requests yesterday.

Hyler, whose former clients include Madonna, Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan, was scheduled to celebrate client Portia de Rossi’s marriage to Ellen Degeneres, which took place on Saturday night. She is a former president of Women in Film and co-created the Jewish Image Awards.

The latest update on her condition reads:

Sunday, August 17th

The reports are more encouraging, but Joan is not out of the woods yet. There are plenty of positive signs, but still a lot of unknowns, so it’s a wait and see scenario. Medically, it is way too complicated to describe, but from a non-professional, here are the positive signs:

—Joan does not need any more blood. She did go through 40 units, however, and the medical staff here was quick to suggest that people who want to participate in her recovery, emotionally, should give blood to replenish the blood bank supply. It won’t go directly to Joan, but it will make sure that there is more available for other patients in the coming weeks.

—We’re going in and talking to Joan. She seems to be responding. I spent some time davening schachris (praying the morning prayers), and she stirred a lot, which I took as a sign that she understood something of what was going on. While I was there, the critical care support team came in to do an assessment, and did “move your right hand, left hand, toes” etc. And the appropriate parts of the body moved, to the small extent possible!

Until more medical progress is made, the only thing friends can do is provide emotional support. Joan is a very spiritual person. I firmly believe that we can directly support her with prayers. My tallit is on her feet, and my tefillin are in her room, so there is a physical presence of the “ruach hakodesh” (spirit of holiness), and I explained to Joan what I was doing. You can pray for her, and keep her in mind when you are donating blood.

UPDATE: Joan Hyler is alive and well. Read the full story of her miraculous recovery .

At dusk on Friday night, Aug. 15, 2008, Joan Hyler was crossing Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu when she was struck by a car traveling 60 miles per hour. Her 5-foot frame was thrown 25 feet through the air before she landed on the hard pavement. It was after midnight on the East Coast when her sister, Nancy Berlin, a nonprofit consultant, got a call saying Hyler, a prominent Hollywood manager, was in critical condition.

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Written by Danielle Berrin and Dikla Kadosh

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