Frankie Muniz once had the world. At the turn of the century, the young Hollywood actor rose to fame making a household name for his portrayal of the child prodigy, Malcolm Wilkerson on Fox’s hit sitcom, Malcolm in the Middle. But the Jersey-born actor found himself taking another journey in life as he largely left behind his acting career, only appearing in small aspects, if that. As with any actor and the media’s cognizance of their personal lives, the rumor mill took hold of one particular comment made by Muniz years ago surrounding memory loss and the actor’s departure from Hollywood. Now, the 36-year-old has broken his silence on the matter as he sheds some light on growing up in the spotlight.
While appearing on the Wilde Ride! With Steve-O podcast this past December, Frankie Muniz finally addressed the long-held rumor that he doesn’t recall his time on Malcolm in the Middle after suffering memory loss from a mini-stroke. To respond, the Agent Cody Banks star had quite the mouthful to say.
“This is the first time that I’ve actually ever gotten to clarify [the rumor]. If you search my name, all it talks about is how like I have no memory or I’m dying of strokes and all this kind of stuff. … You search my name (and) it’s basically, ‘Frankie is dying’… I’ve thought about it a lot like over my years of like, you know, why do I have a bad memory? You know what I mean? The only logical thing I can say is, yeah, I’ve had nine concussions,” admits Frankie Muniz, but that isn’t what he blames for his lack of memory or how the public has interpreted it.
“I don’t want to blame the concussions or blame anything else. I just think it’s the fact that I did so f—ing much in that time frame that of course I can’t remember all of it. To be honest, like, I love ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ and I don’t want to say anything that will make them hate me, but they kind of tell you what your most memorable year is going to be. You know what I mean? And they were like, ‘It’s 2001 because it’s when you were nominated for an Emmy and the Golden Globes’ and all that kind of stuff. And I go, ‘I don’t remember what I felt then. I don’t, you know? It was me kind of blowing off the fact that I can’t say ‘That’s my favorite year’ because I can’t tell you what happened in 2001… I had to say, like, ‘I don’t really remember.’ But I wasn’t saying I don’t remember anything.”
The memory loss rumors ran rampant after Frankie Muniz hosted Dancing with the Stars on ABC. There was one instance where Muniz took the time to comment on the health complications he was suffering from, citing numerous concussions and misdiagnosed mini-strokes. In another instance during the series, he spoke of having a bad memory that was fostered by his acting career.
It’s actually quite easy to see how the media would spin Frankie Muniz’s words and assume the worst. Surely to a naive eye, the most memorable years of his life would have assumably been the six successful seasons of the show that won him multiple accolades. So when a man says he doesn’t remember much of his time on a show, after admitting to health complications, you can expect the media and the public to go off the deep end with assumptions.
As strange as it seems, Frankie Muniz didn’t necessarily make any large attempts at clearing up the bizarre memory loss rumors at the time. In fact, the My Dog Skip actor seemed to make matters worse with statements made in 2019 to People Magazine. Speaking about the memory loss issues, Muniz said, “I only know what it’s like to be me. Or have my brain. So, I’m only reminded of how bad my memory is when people I see, they come to me and go, ‘Oh, you remember when we did this? Remember we went on this trip to this country?'” he explained to People. “And I have no recollection of it, but in my head, it’s not like I feel bad or sad about it.”
Frankie Muniz was only 14 years old when he was throttled into the limelight with Malcolm in the Middle. The show, starring Muniz and Hollywood elite, Bryan Cranston, illustrated a young teen living in a dysfunctional family. The show was an instant hit with widespread acclaim from critics. Most of Muniz’s childhood was filled with hustling from one acting gig to another. As confusing as his stated health issues and memory problems may look, the memory loss may be the aftermath of growing up in such a bizarre and hectic manner.
While there’s little chance to see Frankie Muniz make a Hollywood resurgence, the 36-year-old did give hope to Malcolm in the Middle fans of possibly getting a reunion at some point. Stating on the podcast that he would be “thrilled” to revive the sitcom, Muniz said, “It’d be cool to kind of see where Malcolm and his family are 20 years later.”