Actress Julie Halston given special Tony Award for her work with pulmonary fibrosis research

The Tony Awards will be given out this weekend, but a Broadway actress has already been given her Tony for her work off the stage.

News 12 Staff

Sep 23, 2021, 12:47 AM

Updated 932 days ago

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The Tony Awards will be given out this weekend, but a Broadway actress has already been given her Tony for her work off the stage.
Julie Halston may be known for starring in comedies on and off Broadway. But the award that she just received was bestowed to her for her work as an advocate for pulmonary fibrosis research and treatment.
“I’m obsessed with making sure that people know about pulmonary fibrosis – know to ask their doctor about it,” Halston says.
Halston knows too well about the toll the incurable disease can take. Her late husband Ralph Howard died from the illness. Howard was a radio broadcaster for 1010 WINS and "The Howard Stern Show" on SiriusXM. It was first believed that Howard had asthma.
“The doctor said, ‘You know what? You don’t have asthma. You have pulmonary fibrosis.’ And it was such a shock to us,” says Halston.
Soon after the diagnosis, Halston brought together the theater community to help. She co-founded Broadway Belts, calling on Broadway’s great voices to put on a show to raise money each year for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. The organization has raised $2 million since 2010.
The effort has earned Halston the Isabelle Stevenson Special Tony Award for Humanitarian Efforts.
“Theater is a service. So to get an award for your work as an actress, but also as an advocate, as someone who does service in a community, is doubly rewarding,” she says.
Halston says in accepting the award that she always dreamed of a life in the theater, but now her dream is to help find a cure for pulmonary fibrosis.
Pulmonary fibrosis leads to scarring of the lungs and the inability to breathe. As many as 50,000 people are diagnosed with the illness each year.


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