Paul Robeson’s ECT at the Priory

ECT statistics

In September 1961 the American actor Paul Robeson was admitted to the Priory Clinic in Richmond, London, and treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). His son, Paul Robeson junior, has long suspected that the CIA may have had a hand in both his father’s sudden breakdown during a visit to Moscow and subsequent treatment in London (and, later, in New York).

Paul spent nearly two years in the Priory Clinic, with occasional short visits home to the London flat where he lived with his wife Eslanda. It was his wife who organised his admission to the Priory and consented to ECT, his son not learning he had been given ECT until later. Eventually Eslanda was persuaded that the regime of ECT and heavy doses of drugs at the Priory were not doing any good; Paul was removed from the Priory and taken to a clinic in East Germany where he spent…

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