"Thank you to everyone who have dedicated their lives to saving others," the Riverdale star said on Instagram on the anniversary of his life-saving surgery

By Ashley Boucher
August 06, 2019 09:29 PM

Warning: Graphic photo below. 

Skeet Ulrich is taking a moment to thank medical professionals on the anniversary of his own life-saving open heart surgery.

The Riverdale actor shared a graphic inside look at his heart during the procedure, which he had at the age of 10 due to a congenital defect, with a photo posted to Instagram on Tuesday.

“A rare look inside my heart 😳,” Ulrich, now 49, wrote in the caption of the photo.

“39 years ago today I had a 25% chance of surviving open heart surgery,” he continued of his miraculous recovery. “Thanks to the skill and dedication of my surgeons I am alive and well. Thank you to everyone who have dedicated their lives to saving others. 🙏❤️”

Ulrich has said that he had post-traumatic stress from the surgery, but acting in New York University’s program “transformed” him.

“I never looked back,” he said in a 2017 interview with AV Club, speaking about moving to Manhattan from the South.

“I worked so hard. I went up with a typical Southern accent and post-traumatic stress from an open-heart surgery that gave me this hunched-over, caved-in-chest look,” the Scream star continued. “And [David] Mamet’s program, he hired the best speech and voice and body workers and dance teachers and all that, and it just transformed me, through their diligence and mine.”

Warning: Graphic photo below. 

Skeet Ulrich
Skeet Ulrich/Instagram

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A 2010 Los Angeles Magazine profile reported that Ulrich suffered “near-constant bouts of pneumonia” as a child, and was 10 years old when doctors discovered “a cleft mitral valve and a hole in his ventricular wall,” prompting the intense surgery.

But the distress suffered in childhood gave him fuel for his acting: “As Mamet said, ‘If you didn’t want to be an actor, you should have had a good childhood,” he told the publication.

Skeet Ulrich
Sam Wasson/Getty Images

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Ulrich has recognized the slim odds of survival before — in a 2010 chat with Entertainment Weekly, he said, “I had a 25 percent chance of living… I’ve had this ‘F— odds’ attitude for a long time.”

Now, the actor is healthy and has returned to acting since taking some time off to raise his two kids, twins Naiia Rose and Jakob, 18, whom he shares with ex Georgina Cates.

You can see him reprise his role as FP Jones on The CW’s popular soap Riverdale, which returns for its fourth season this fall.

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