Brian Dietzen, an NCIS star opens up about having a stroke and heart surgery

Brian Dietzen was born on November 14, 1977, in Barrington, Illinois. Brian seemed to have deciphered what he wanted from a young age and he told his dad, “Figure out what you love, and then figure out how to get paid for it.”

In elementary school, Dietzen always featured in plays and his interest grew when he went to high school.


He loved acting and along the way also fell in love with writing.

Brian Dietzen explained, “It’s kind of an extension of acting. It’s creating a script, it’s moving forward and expressing some sort of artistic vision. I went to school at CU in Boulder, and even there, I loved reading scripts. I loved studying the classics, studying the masters, and that sort of stuff. And moving out here when I started writing with my friend Abby Miller, we wrote a musical together, a feature musical.”


“We realized, shortly thereafter, that it would cost millions of dollars to make that feature, so we decided to try our hand at writing something on a much smaller subject, and we came up with Congratulations.”

Dietzen made his film debut in 2003 alongside Kelly Parkson in the movie From Justin to Kelly.


In 2004, he made a guest appearance on NCIS as medical examiner’s assistant Jimmy Palmer. He worked closely with David McCallum which was played by Donald Mallard.

Dietzen told CBS, “One of the big, memorable days is my first scene here. And I was hired to do one scene with David McCallum, one day. And I went in there, we had a nice juicy scene with David, where I was nervous, and I was working on a tape recorder. He and I played well together.”


He continued: ” It was very fun. And I remember thinking: this was fun for my reel. Goodbye. Fortunately, they brought me back, and I still have a job here and that was awesome, but that was one of my most memorable.”

After making a guest appearance, Dietzen never dreamt of being called back for more scenes but it happened anyway and the rest is history.

Shutterstock/Kathy Hutchins

He explained: “And they liked it so much that it turned into a ten-year job. Had it been for a starring role, I would’ve had to test for the network, and if I had done that, I probably would’ve made different choices. And I probably wouldn’t have gotten the job.”

The NCIS star recently opened up about the tragedies he has been through. Before the pandemic, Brian suffered a stroke.

Shutterstock/Kathy Hutchins

Brian Dietzen recalled in an interview with Variety, “I’m going to say something that’s going to sound like an advertisement, and it’s not, but the Apple Watch saved my life. I was on the floor of my bathroom, throwing up, and I pulled out my phone, and I was like, ‘Oh shit, I can’t use my fingers. And so I said, ‘Hey, Siri, call Kelly,’ and called my wife. I said, ‘I need help.’ She said, ‘You sound like you have marbles in your mouth.’”

Shutterstock/Kathy Hutchins

He was able to get in touch with his wife and 911.

Dietzen said, ‘I don’t think there’s much that I’ve left undone because everyone that I love knows that I love them’ — that sort of thing. But then I was like, ‘Whoa, no, I can’t start thinking that way,’ and then I started trying to get my mind in the right place. And I could feel something happen in my brain, but all of a sudden, I could move my hands and start moving my tongue.

I started doing tongue twisters. They’re like, ‘Please stay still.’ But the clot in my brain cleared. And I was blessed that I’d stayed healthy and had a healthy cardiovascular system.”


He was stabilized and sent over to UCLA where he got surgery because of the hole between his atrial chambers which needed to be closed.

He made it and was able to get back to his family and career. We are glad to have him back.

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