Freaks And Geeks Actor (And Fedora Guy) Jerry Messing Says He's Partially Paralyzed After Bout With Covid

Freaks and Geeks fedora meme and still from series

Jerry Messing, an actor known for roles in Freaks and Geeks and the well-remembered Disney Channel series Even Stevens, not to mention being the face behind the famous “Fedora guy” meme, was hospitalized with Covid-19 a few weeks ago. Now, the actor has an update on his condition, and while he’s on the mend in the hospital, he says he’s been partially paralyzed due to the ordeal.

The actor spoke with TMZ from his hospital bed. The good news? Once on a ventilator in the ICU, Messing’s condition has progressed enough that he’s been taken off the breathing device and is breathing fine on his own. Unfortunately, he’s currently dealing with some after effects of dealing with Covid-19 that are going to be a struggle.

First and foremost, he says he was partially paralyzed while fighting Covid. He currently cannot stand or walk on his own and doctors say recovery is going to be tough and is going to “take some time.” Though it’s worth noting he feels things are looking up and he seems to be on the recovery route after a full month+ in the hospital.

Jerry Messing had started the process of getting vaccinated before he entered the hospital but he hadn’t completed it. He reportedly got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine but hadn't been able to get the second shot yet when he grew sick. Reports indicate his doctors have told him to hold off for now on getting a second dose as his body continues the process of healing after fighting Covid-19.

Messing was living with his parents in Tampa when he first got sick; they were both fully vaccinated before the Freaks and Geeks actor entered the hospital in August of this year. The actor joins a long list of celebrities who have tested positive for Covid, some who have been asymptomatic and some who have had a lengthier battle with the illness.

While Jerry Messing began his career as an actor in some major roles including the aforementioned ones but also Addams Family Reunion, where he played the iconic character Pugsley Addams. Though his acting career died down, in more recent years he was the subject of a popular "Fedora Guy" meme that he later addressed in 2014, noting (hat tip WavyWebSurf),

So I've been made aware of a meme that I seem to have become a part of due to my picture; something that seems to have to do with the recent influx of friend requests. I've been unsure how to, or even if I should, respond to this possibility. First I want to thank those who have been respectful as to how I might feel towards this; and second, I would like to say how funny it is that a photo I had taken for the fun of it would generate this much, well, I'm not sure what to call it (infamy?). As to why a for fun, shot appears to have been done professionally, that's simple. When I got my last set of headshots done there was some film to use up, and the result was this.

Recovering from Covid can be a hard road, and it sounds like Messing has more challenges ahead. But it’s nice to hear that he’s no longer testing positive for the disease, has moved away from the ICU and can start the process of moving forward and moving on. Our thoughts are with the actor during his recovery.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.