Gary. Gosh, there have been hundreds of such instances over the past twenty
years (and much longer actually, but there has been an active movement
in Hollywood to include pwds since about 1978). It's hard to know when
to start. I've had scores of credits myself, including Kansas, a mediocre
film with Matt Dillon and Andrew McCarthy that had a lead role of a reporter
played by a para (me) on crutches. This was in no way related to a plot
device, just creative casting. I played a shadowy, but important character
in In the Line of Fire who tells Clint exactly who he's been chasing for
the previous hour and a half and a news vendor in a scene with Keanu in
one of his early efforts called The Night Before.
I've done, besides the one's my friend and fan Naomi has mentioned, include:
Striking Resemblance, an erotic thriller, emphasis on
erotic, in which I played a police coroner ala Quincy. This is a good
one for you married guys to rent, since there's lots of T & A, but
you can explain that you got it to check out the disabled guy. It's a
better excuse than getting Playboy to "read the articles." I just did
another flick for the same company called Seventh Sense.
Same deal, lots of skin, thank god not mine. In this one I played an eye
doctor for a blind woman (the skin).
I did a Michael
Madsen film a few years back called Dead Connection in
which I was also a coroner. And more years ago, I did a dreadful T&A
thing called Kandyland, in which I played a strip club
(Kandyland) owner. Also did a part that was weird, but again not thematic
(the best kind for our future in Hollywood products, I think) called,
of all things, Who Killed the Baby Jesus?. In my early days here, I worked
on Swing Shift and 9 to 5 in very minor roles, but once
again, as a part of the American scene. Oh, and there was another doctor
role in a scene with Mark (Luke Skywalker himself) Hamil in a perfectly
awful thriller called Black Magic Woman. All of the above
were characters in chairs or on crutches, but not written as disabled
to further the plot.
lots of roles (too many, but the work is rewarding) playing the Vietnam
vet gimp parts: Born on the Fourth, Rockets Red Glare
(just did that one, it's not out yet), To Heal a Nation
(with Eric "I wish I was making as much as my sister" Roberts) and Guest
roles on shows like Hunter, Benson, Simon and Simon, etc. Even played
Korean vest in both M*A*S*H and After M*A*S*H. Dozens
of other roles include Airwolf, Equal Justice, Matlock, etc. But the best
ones were like Trauma Center, BH 90210, in which the character just happened
to be disabled. We can have more of those, if people will make their concerns
known to producers and networks.
isn't the only one to mention either. Christopher Templeton has had a
lot of success (by the way, she's just starred in an action movie playing
a chair-using para detective-type role. Robert David Hall is a talented
working double leg amp actor. Richard Redlun gets lots of work.
is up and coming. And the list goes on and on. It's great to have so many
people with mobility disabilities working on stuff (although I admit I
don't particularly care for all that competition sometimes).
for creating a place on the net where we can start building an historical
legacy of the successes we've had as well as some of the dog-butt crap
we've had to put up with too.
Alan Toy , June 1999