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JC Montgomery's career rewards him with standing ovations eight times a week. Now he's the one giving applause – to the people who saved his life after a heart attack: his wife, his cardiologist, and the staff at Holy Name.

The Broadway actor, who stars as the Sultan in Disney's hit show Aladdin, had always been in top physical shape, eating well and exercising before each of his performances. At 63, he jogs, crushes the elliptical and in the summer, rides his electric bike from his home in Teaneck to the New York City theater, a 14-mile trek each way. His health numbers reflected his healthy lifestyle – easily passing a physical only weeks before he suffered a massive heart attack.

"My doctor told me the chances of me having a heart attack were about the same as winning the lottery – there was just no indication beforehand," JC said. “He also said I had the type of heart attack where one-third of patients don't make it to the ambulance."

It happened on a Saturday morning in October 2022 – JC and his wife, Kim, were going out for breakfast. Before they left the house, he suddenly felt pressure around his chest and started sweating. He told Kim not to worry, that whatever it was would pass. But then he fell to his knees and his arms felt heavy. Ignoring his protests, Kim called an ambulance.

Within minutes he was at Holy Name's Emergency Department.

Dr. Tariqshah Syed, Chief of Cardiology, recognized that a small piece of plaque was blocking an artery to his heart, causing a heart attack. Because of the blockage, only half of his heart was working, a condition that most people don't survive. Dr. Syed prepared him for an angioplasty, a procedure to open the artery and insert a stent to restore blood flow.

“Time was critical," Dr. Syed said. “His physical condition helped, but if he had waited any longer to get to the hospital, he wouldn't have made it."

As soon as Dr. Syed opened the blockage, JC felt immediate relief.

"Dr. Syed saved my life and so did my wife." JC says with a laugh, “Guys, my advice, listen to your wives – they're so much smarter than us. I would have waited for this to pass and instead, I would have passed.”

JC came through his ordeal better than expected – his heart function significantly improved. But he needed time to recover physically and emotionally. Three months later, JC Montgomery returned to the bright lights of Broadway with a renewed commitment to heart-healthy eating and fitness. He's dropped about 20 pounds and is back to his daily workouts.

"Walking back on that stage, I knew I owed those moments to Dr. Syed and the Holy Name team. They're the ones who deserve the ovation."