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Washington psychotherapist Jerilyn Ross dies at 63

Jerilyn Ross, 63, a psychotherapist who overcame her own phobia of heights to help hundreds of other phobics conquer their own fears, died Jan. 7. She had cancer.

Ms. Ross had many clients throughout the years who said she had helped them live more peaceful lives. One of those would be Donny Osmond, the actor-singer who recently made a comeback as champion of the hit show Dancing with the Stars.

Osmond explained in this 48 Hours episode, that Ms.Ross saved him from sure embarrassment by helping him cope with debilitating stage fright.

Osmond was playing Joseph in a Canadian production of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, when he became so upset he said he wouldn't appear on stage again without help.

The musical's production company paid Ms. Ross to fly from Washington to Toronto to coach Osmond. Ms. Ross counseled Osmond through a series of sessions helping him overcome his nerves while he was on stage, even waiting in the wings for him while he performed.

He mourned her death on his twitter account yesterday.

By T. Rees Shapiro  |  January 9, 2010; 5:25 AM ET
Categories:  Washington DC-area people  | Tags: Merilyn Ross  
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