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Hearing Impaired

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AMERICAN GLADIATORS/SYN/1989-1997 (Deaf)
*(Shelley Beattie) Siren, a beefy and very beautiful athlete who competed against contestants on the syndicated sports program AMERICAN GLADIATORS. Known by her stage name of Siren, Shelley battled weekly challengers in all sorts of physical bouts such as The Joust, Powerball, Human Cannonball, The Wall and The Eliminator. Siren's fans waved their arms and stomped their feet to show their affection for their female warrior. Guided by hand signals given to her by fellow Gladiators, Shelley mixed it up with the best athletes in the country proving convincingly that as Beattie said "The only thing a hearing-impaired person can't do is hear." Shelley's disability was caused when she accidentally swallowed an overdose of adult aspirin as a child. Offstage, Shelley sometimes wore hearing aids in both ears to lessen her total deafness. (People Weekly 10/26/92 p. 147-148)

BIONIC WOMAN/ABC/NBC/1976-78 (Injured Ear, Legs, Arm)
*(Lindsay Wagner) Jaime Sommers, tennis pro who was physically reconstructed after being nearly killed in a skydiving accident. Her shattered body was fitted with a bionic right arm, legs and super-hearing in her right ear. When she recuperated from her surgery she began to work as a school teacher and part-time spy for the Office of Scientific Information. One of the drawbacks of her accident was the memory lapse wherein she forgot her engagement to Colonel Steve Austin (Lee Majors), who had earlier also undergone a bionic operation after an airplane crash. A similar plotline surfaced on THE BIONIC SIX/SYN/1987, a syndicated cartoon about six members of the Bennett family who possessed bionic powers. See also SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN - "Visually Handicapped".

87TH PRECINCT/NBC/1961-62 (Deaf/Mute)
*(Gina Rowlands/costar) Teddy Carella, the deaf mute wife of New York police detective, Steve Carella (Robert Lansing). Some critics called her performance "magical." The characters were based on the novel "Cop Haters" (1956) written by Ed McBain.

ELLEN (These Friends of Mine)/ABC/1995-1998 (Deaf)
**On episode "Ellen's Deaf Comedy Jam" (aired 02-12-1997) Ellen Morgan (Ellen Degernes) and Peter (Patrick Bristow) help a group of deaf actors at their staging of a performance of Romeo and Juliet. During the rehearsals, Ellen's friend Audrey Penney (Clea Lewis) takes a liking to one of the actors, who is playing "Romeo." Unfortunately, Ellen misinterprets his hand signals and thinks that he tried to make a pass at her. She tells Audrey, who reacts unhappily to the news. Deanne Bray played Juliet.

ER/NBC/1994-2009 (Deaf)
**(Matthew Watkins) Reese Benton, deaf son of black physician Dr. Peter Benton, an emergency room doctor at Cook County General Hospital in Chicago. On episode "The Longer You Stay" (aired 10/04/2001) Reese and his mother Carla Reese had a car accident. Reese survived with minor trauma. Carla died. Dr. Peter Benton used sign language to tell his son that his mother had "gone away" to God. Peter leaned that Reese was not his biological son, but he loved his just the same.

THE FAMILY TREE/NBC/1983 (Deaf)
*(Jonathan Hall Kovacs/costar) Toby Benjamin, a young deaf boy struggling with the realities of his mom's divorce and remarriage. Actor Jonathan Hall was deaf in real-life.

FEELING FREE/PBS/1978 (Various Handicaps)
*30-Minute educational series designed to ease "mainstreaming" of handicapped children into normal school systems and life. It featured regulars performing in studios and on location.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK/CBS/1978-82 (Injured Ear)
*(Lou Ferrigno/costar) Lou Ferrigno, the 275-pound body builder who played the enraged green giant on this fantasy CBS series, suffered an ear infection at the age of three which caused a 65% loss of hearing. After his parents noticed he didn't hear sounds (they clapped behind his ears) he began wearing a hearing aid. His deafness created a slight speech impairment which made learning to speak difficult. A bit of a loner, he eventually took up body building to compensate for his lack of hearing and a lack of self-esteem. His hard work and dedication to body building earned him the titles Mr. Teenage America, Mr. America, Mr. Universe (won twice), and Mr. International. He also appeared in the body building film Pumping Iron (1974) and the TV movie The Return of the Incredible Hulk (1988). In the fall of 2000 on the CBS sitcom KING OF QUEENS Lou Ferrigno was cast as himself [the former TV star of TV series THE INCREDIBLE HULK] who moved to the Queens area of New York City to be the recurring next-door neighbor of a parcel delivery man.

JOHN DOE/FOX/2002-03 (Deaf)
*Mysterious cabal of people who use sign language to communicate. They are involved in a conspiracy that involves a savant named John Doe.
 


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