LIFE GOES ON/ABC/1989 (Down Syndrome)
*(Chris Burke/costar) Charles "Corky" Thatcher, a likable and
valiant 18-year-old male with Down's Syndrome. The series focused on
the trials and tribulations of his family and school life when he
was mainstreamed with his younger sister, Becca who was embarrassed
at being in the same grade as her brother. In 1997 Chris became a
recurring character on TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL/CBS/1994-2003 as an angel
with Down Syndrome. For more on Chris Burke read his 1991
autobiography written with Jo Beth McDaniel entitled "A Special Kind
MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE/FOX/2000-2006 (Asthmatic)
**(Craig Lamar Traylor) Stevie Kenarben, an asthmatic black boy in a
wheelchair who attends a special class for gifted kids (high
IQ’s)with friend Malcolm (the show’s featured actor). When Stevie
speaks, his breathing is labored and his delivery is slow but clear.
On the “Sleepover” Episode No.11, Stevie invites Malcolm over for a
sleepover, and the two sneak out to a late-night games arcade
(“You‘d be surprised how hard it is to get a wheelchair through a
window”), where Stevie’s wheelchair is stolen (Malcolm ends up
pushing Stevie around in a shopping cart). Gary Anthony Williams and
Merrin Dungey appear as Mr. & Mrs. Kenarben, Stevie’s extremely
overprotective parents. Another handicapped person on the program is
a military school officer named Commandant Edwin Spangler. He is
missing his right hand, has a patch over his left eye and a bum leg.
NASH BRIDGES/CBS/1996-2001 (Alzheimer's & Epilepsy)
**(James Gammon) Nick Bridges, father of San Francisco police
inspector Nash Bridges who keeps getting kicked out of retirement
homes and dropping by to visit his son. Nick is afflicted with
**(Cress Williams) Antwon Babcock, black police detective assigned
to the SIU division of the San Francisco Police Department. His
character was introduced in the fall 2000 season. On the episode
NO. 617 "Blood Bots' (aired 3/30/01) Antwon accompanied a group of
officers to a warehouse to find a techno geek whose robot robbed a
convenience store and killed the clerk on duty. While busting into a
warehouse, a rigged strobe light designed to blind the officers to
booby traps, flashed brightly in the officers eyes. Immediately
Detective Babcock retreated from the scene saying: "I gotta get out
of here." Later, one of his fellow officers (Det. Dominguez)
discretely noted that Antwon's actions reflected someone who
exhibited signs of epilepsy.
NIGHT COURT/NBC/1984-92 (Diabetic)
**(Marsha Warfield) Roz Russell, a tough, but quiet black court
bailiff working in a New York City night court. On a December 1987
episode, Roz discovered she had diabetes and didn't like the idea of
having to inject herself with insulin to stay alive. She later had
an attack of low-blood sugar, began to act incoherently, and almost
fell off the roof of the court house. Other physically challenged
characters included Daniel Frishman as Vincent Daniels, a dwarf city
official who supervised Assistant. D.A. Dan Fielding (John
Larrouquette) who constantly made jokes about his bosses lack of
height; S. Marc Jordan as Jack Griffin, the blind operator of the
courthouse newspaper stand in the cafeteria; and Elayne Boosler as
Joy Buscallia, the blind love interest of sighted court Bailiff,
Bull Shannon. Joy could touch typed 60 wpm and Xerox with the lid
up. Joy had gone blind four years earlier. Being blinded had
mellowed Joy's normally mean disposition, but not by much.
THE PRETENDER/NBC/1996-2000 (Emphysema)
**(Richard Marcus) Mr. Raines, a sinister head of a clandestine
think-tank called The Centre. Mr. Raines breaths through plastic
tubing that carries oxygen from a small canister which he wheels
about on a cart beside him wherever he goes. He is constantly
wheezing and out of breath.
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE/NBC/1965-68 (Leukemia)
*(Ben Gazzara) Paul Bryan, a lawyer with an incurable disease
(Chronic Myelocytic Leukemia). As Paul Bryan put it in the pilot
film "I have one of those afflictions they name after the poor
fellow that discovered it." According to the programs' opening
deeply sorry, Mr. Bryan.
alright Doctor. I already knew.
at least nine months left, perhaps as much as eighteen.
first doctor gave me from one to two years.
he's right. What are you going to do?
have no family. Haven't take a day off since law school. Guess
I'll try to squeeze thirty years of living into one or two.
hopeless, Mr. Bryan. Research is being done and you'll be in
good health until the last few weeks. So always let us know
where you are.
The series was based on a KRAFT SUSPENSE
THEATRE episode from April 1965.
SECOND SIGHT/BBC/1999-2001 (Blurred
*(Clive Owen) DCI Ross Tanner, a London-based
police detective diagnosed with a degenerative
condition of the retina which produces blurred
vision, starlight flashes, extreme sensitivity
to light, intermittent blindness and
hallucinations. Tanner's Doctor diagnosed his
problem as acute zonal outer occult retinopathy
(AZOOR), a rare virus that makes his vision come
and go as it destroys the victim's retina.
Tanner's partner DI Catherine Tully (Claire
Skinner) soon becomes his eyes as they
investigate criminal cases for the Metropolitan
Police Force. Tully sees helping Tanner as a way
of getting on the fast track to promotions. So
she keeps his secret and helps Tanner get
through the cases, aiding him when his sight
goes out on occasions. Initially, Ross did not
want to admit anything was wrong with his eyes.
He was a fast-rising detective with a promising
career and unlike his policeman father who never
advanced up the ranks, Ross was determined to
make something of himself. And although a rare
disease was eroding his vision, he managed to
keep the problem hidden to remain head of an
elite homicide squad. Tanner's awkward attempts
to hide the condition distanced him from his
colleagues and increasingly put his job at risk.
All the while, Ross struggles with his ambition,
tries to come to terms with his un-welcomed
impairment while fielding a complex relationship
with his ex-wife and son and a romantic
entanglements with DI Tully and her eventual
resignation from the unit which leaves him
without an ally. Unawares of Tanner's visual
difficulties, colleague DI Boyd credited Ross'
frequent stumbles to alcohol.
7TH HEAVEN/WB/1996-2007 (Epilepsy)
**(Paul Johansson) Tom Harrison, former pastor
at the Glenoak church. On episode No. 17
"Choices" Tom returns to the town of Glenoak to
visit the Camdens. Tom was Reverend Eric
Camden's assistant pastor before moving to his
own congregation. Unfortunately, Tom had a
secret. He had epilepsy and was ashamed to let
anyone know about it. When he had a grand mal
seizure in front of his new congregation he felt
that he could no longer stay in the church after
seeing the looks of his parishioners when he
awoke. He visited with the Camdens and after a
soul searching few days, he told Pastor Camden
about his condition. Eventually, Tom realized he
couldn't run away from his problem or his
congregation and decided to return to his flock.
SPACE: ABOVE & BEYOND/FOX/1995-96 (TMJ)
**(Lanei Chapman/costar) First Lt. Vanessa
Damphouse, an African American member of the
58th Squadron of the US Marine Corps assigned to
battle aliens and rebel cyborgs in the year
2063. Vanessa suffers from TemporoMandibular Jaw
Joint Disease (TMJ) caused by battle stress.
WEST WING/NBC/1999-2006 (Multiple
*(Martin Sheen) Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, a liberal
Democratic US President afflicted with Multiple
Sclerosis. Only a few of his highest advisors
knew of the ailment. He never informed the
American public he had such an illness during
the campaign. Now, that he is in the White House
and under stress from domestic and international
issues, his condition begins to reveal itself.
On episode "17 People" (aired 4/4/01)
Communications Director Tobias "Toby" Ziegler
was shocked to learn of the President's secret
affliction with multiple sclerosis -- and he
detailed its political and legal ramifications.
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