10 groundbreaking TV characters
- Article by: NEAL JUSTIN
- Star Tribune
- April 15, 2011 - 2:10 PM
10 GROUNDBREAKING TV CHARACTERS
TV has occasionally spotlighted physically challenged characters on fictional shows as well. Here are a few who stand out:
David McLean played a bounty hunter who's the fastest draw in the West even though he lost the use of his left arm in the Civil War.
Although a sniper's bullet forced Raymond Burr's detective into a wheelchair, he still managed to roll over bad guys.
He may have been blinded by an explosion, but James Franciscus' insurance investigator could still see through criminals' flimsy stories.
GERI ON "THE FACTS OF LIFE" (1980-84)
Geri Jewell became the first physically disabled actress to portray a recurring character, teaching the girls the facts of cerebral palsy.
CORKY ON "LIFE GOES ON" (1989-93)
Chris Burke, who was born with Down syndrome, won our hearts and admiration as the eternally optimistic Corky Thatcher in this feel-good family drama.
DR. WEAVER ON "ER" (1995-2007)
We learned that Laura Innes' Kerry Weaver was a lesbian and abandoned as a child before discovering that her limp was caused by congenital hip dysplasia.
AUGUSTUS HILL ON "OZ" (1997-2003)
Harold Perrineau Jr.'s character narrates from a maximum-security prison and a wheelchair after a cop threw him off a roof for killing his partner.
JOE SWANSON ON "FAMILY GUY" (1999)
It figures that TV's crudest cartoon would have its most likable character be wheelchair-bound Joe, voiced by Patrick Warburton.
JOEY LUCAS ON "THE WEST WING" (2000-06)
Before battling on "Celebrity Apprentice," deaf actress Marlee Matlin took on Josh Lyman as a savvy political consultant.
BECKY ON "GLEE" (2009-)
Wheelchair-bound Artie (Kevin McHale) may be a bigger character, but we'll save our biggest cheer for Sue Sylvester's protégée, played by Lauren Potter, who has Down syndrome.
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