‘Deadwood’ Creator David Milch to Open Up on $100M Gambling Addiction in Memoir

‘Deadwood’ Creator David Milch to Open Up on $100M Gambling Addiction in Memoir

Posted on: February 2, 2022, 12:17h. 

Last updated on: February 2, 2022, 12:17h.

TV writer and producer David Milch will address a crippling gambling addiction that saw him lose $100 million in 11 years in his forthcoming autobiography, Life’s Work, reports Variety.

David Milch
David Milch made groundbreaking television, but he wrestled with addiction throughout his life. (Image: Matt Sayles/Shutterstock)

The Emmy award-winning creator of NYPD Blue and Deadwood, 76, also writes about the onset of Alzheimer’s in the book, according to publisher Random House. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2019.

Milch lost much of his fortune betting horses at Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, California. The track was also the setting of his ill-fated 2011 HBO drama Luck, starring Dustin Hoffman. Set in the world of horse racing, the series was canceled in 2012 due to animal safety concerns after three horses died during production.

Milch owned racehorses himself. One, Gilded Time, won the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and another, Val Royal, won the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

‘High Functioning Addict’

According to court documents, in 2016 Milch had blown through his fortune and was $17 million in debt to the IRS. At the time, he was living off a $40-per-week allowance from his wife, Rita Milch.

She was suing the couple’s business managers for failing to disclose the extent of her husband’s debts until it was too late.

It was only once his wife had been made aware of the extent of the problem that she could make an intervention and seek professional help for her husband’s gambling issues.

Milch has been open about his addictions, which have also included alcohol and heroin, calling himself a “high functioning addict.”

Fascination and Dread

Of his love affair with horse racing, he once told Daily Racing Form:

“[The racetrack] is a venue of both fascination and dread whose fundamental appeals are prehistorical. It has to do with man’s ostensible mastery of his environment and subordination to the outcome. Man likes to think he is the master, but in fact, when they are 40 yards from the finish, you realize it hasn’t got much to do with you now.”

Asked how often he went to the races, he said: “It depends on who I’m lying to.”

Life’s Work is out September 13. Random House calls it “a profound memoir from a brilliant mind taking stock as Alzheimer’s loosens his hold on his own past … a ferocious mind (grappling) with the bewildering effects of Alzheimer’s by looking back, making what sense he can of a life of addiction, recovery, loss and creation, abuse and life-saving kindness, and the increasingly strange present and future he now faces.”

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