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Hearing Impaired

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M*A*S*H/CBS/1972-83 (Deaf)
**(William Christopher) Father Francis Mulcahy, a Catholic chaplain assigned to Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. On the final episode of the series Father Mulcahy went deaf. His character reappeared in the spin-off AFTERMASH/CBS/83-84 as a hospital chaplain working at General Pershing Veteran Administration Hospital in River Bend, Missouri.

NED BLESSING: THE STORY OF MY LIFE & TIMES/CBS/1993 (Deaf Blind Mute)
**(Bill McKinney) Verlon Borgers, a ruthless outlaw struck deaf, dumb and blind when the ghost of a dead sheriff (whom Borgers killed) materialized during a gunfight against Ned Blessing. Borgers had placed the head of the sheriff on display in a pickle jar. A mute character named Seli Pedit, a black man born without being able to speak, was also featured on the series.

PEYTON PLACE/ABC/1964-69 (Deaf)
**(Kimberly Beck) Kim Schuster, the deaf six-year-old child of David and Doris Schuster who lived in the New England town of Peyton Place during the 1965 season.

PICKET FENCES/CBS/1992-96 (Little Person & Deaf Woman)
**(Zelda Rubenstein) Ginny Weeden, a dwarfish eavesdropping busybody receptionist for the police department in Rome Wisconsin. Later in the series, her character retired and was found frozen solid in her home freezer chest. Rubenstein is probably best remembered as the ghost-busting psychic in the movie Poltergeist (1982) and its subsequent sequels in Poltergeist II (1986) and Poltergeist III (1988). Later in the series the town of Rome elected a deaf Mayor named Laurie Bey (Marlee Matlin), who earlier in her career was charged with bank robbery. See also "Reasonable Doubts"

POLICE SQUAD/ABC/1982 (Deaf)
*(Leslie Nielsen) Leslie Nielsen, who played the straight-faced TV police detective Frank Drebin was in reality hearing impaired. His eardrums were injured by the "deafening" combat noises heard during his World War II tour of duty as a tail gunner with the Royal Canadian Air Force. According to an interview in the National Enquirer (7/30/91) he would be completely "deaf" without his hearing devices.

REASONABLE DOUBTS/NBC/1991-93 (Hearing-Impaired)
*(Marlee Matlin/costar) Tess Kaufman, a beautiful hearing-impaired prosecuting attorney working for the District Attorney's in the city of Chicago. She communicated via sign language to her partner and interpreter, police investigator Richard "Dicky" Cobb (Mark Harmon) who learned sign language from his deaf father. Marlee Matlin had previously won an Oscar® for the motion picture Children of a Lesser God (1986) when she portrayed an intelligent but isolated hearing-impaired woman who worked as a janitor at a school for the deaf. See also - DANCE & DANCING: "The Dancing Bandit"

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE/NBC/1975+ (Hard of Hearing)
**(Gilda Radner) Emily Litella, an elderly woman with a hearing problem seen on the op-ed "Weekend Update" segment of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE on the NBC network in the late 1970s. Dressed in a simple dress and a sweater, Emily Litella peered through her bifocals and read an editorial response only to discover in the middle of her report that she had gotten the theme of her story wrong. A typical example: "What is all this fuss I hear about the Supreme Court decision on a "Deaf" penalty. It's terrible! Deaf people have enough problems as it is" When the on-air reporter pointed out her error she would crinkle her nose and humbly say to the audience "Never Mind! Other misunderstood topics included Soviet Jewelry, Endangered Feces, Making Puerto Rico a Steak, Presidential Erections, Pouring Money into Canker Research, the Eagle Rights Amendment, Busting School Children and Violins on Television. Emily's answering machine message said: "Hello, This is Emily Litella. I'm not home right now, but I will call you back as soon as possible. Just leave your name, number and what time you called after you hear the sound of the Jeep."

SESAME STREET/PBS/1969+ (Deaf & Crippled)
**(Linda Bove) Linda, a deaf librarian working in the magical neighborhood of Sesame Street. Debuting in 1976, her character is now the longest-running TV role for a deaf performer. In 1993, physically challenged actress Tarah Lynne Schaeffer, a bespectacled youngster in a wheelchair, debuted on the program.

SPACE: ABOVE & BEYOND/FOX/1995-96 (Ear Damage)
**(James Morrison) Lt. Colonel Tyrus Cassius, a.k.a. "Black Knight", an In Vitro commanding officer of the 58th Platoon of US Space Marines in the year 2063. "TC" McQueen suffers from an inner ear imbalance due to damage sustained from injuries while fighting aliens called Chigs. His condition precludes regular space combat duties, and so he commands his forces from a ground station.

SPIN CITY/ABC/1996-2002 (Hysterical Deafnesss)
**(Richard Kind) Paul Thomas Lassiter, a neurotic employee at the Mayor's Office in New York City. Paul suffers from hysterical deafness. As he told his coworkers ""Under intense competition I loose my hearing." On episode No. 107 "Lost and Found" Paul competes with coworkers Carter Heywood and Stuart Bondek for a chance to be chosen by the Mayor to go to a conference in New Orleans. After Stuart is no longer in the running, Carter realized Paul's affliction was real and he bowed out gracefully so that the Mayor would choose Paul. Paul is thrilled at being selected until the Mayor announced that while in Louisiana, Paul was to play in a friendly game of golf against some other politicos [and that there was a monetary wager involved]. Of course. Paul went deaf at the thought of the seemingly friendly competition.

SPORTS NIGHT/ABC/1998-2000 (Deaf)
**(Mentioned but not seen) Louise, the deaf sister of Jeremy, a news anchor on cable show “Sports Night.” Her character was first mentioned on Episode No.1 “Dear Louise” when Jeremy Goodwin wrote a letter to Louise discussing his new job at “Sports Night” and his impending romance with a fellow worker named Natalie. Louise is a sophomore at Amherst College. On episode No.27 “Louise Revisited” we discover that Jeremy is concerned when he finds out Natalie is writing to Louise.

THE STAND (ABC TV-MOVIE) (Deaf-Mute)
**(Rob Lowe) Nick Andros, a deaf-mute character from Stephen King's The Stand, on ABC's eight-hour version of the blockbuster novel. In real life, Rob Lowe is completely deaf in my right ear -- from an ear infection when he was five months old. Lowe commented on his condition saying "The thing that really concerns me more than anything is that people think I'm rude because I don't respond. If I'm at a sporting event, and somebody's on the right side of me, and they go, "Well, how about that basket --" And I just...nothing. I know there are people who think I'm the most arrogant son-of-a-bitch, but they don't know that I just didn't hear what they said." Lowe also starred on the NBC political drama THE WEST WING.

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/SYN/1987-94
(Shalaft's Syndrome)
*(Patrick Stewart/costar) Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the commander of the Federation starship USS Enterprise-D first introduced on the two-part episode "Far Point" in the fall of 1987. In the Star Trek movie spin-off Star Trek Nemesis (2002), we learn that Jean-Luc Picard suffered from Shalaft's syndrome (hypersensitivity to sound) in his youth. As part of the film's plotline, the Romulans had devised a ruse to recreate the identical image of Jean-Luc Picard. They planned to substitute their copy of Picard and infiltrate the high command of the Federation. However, with a change of government, the new Romulan officials discarded the plan as well as Shinzon, the youth genetically grown to be Picard. They condemned him to the rigors of the Remian mines, but Shinzon survived and rose to power as the new and ruthless Praetor of Romulus. Because Shinzon shared the same DNA as Jean-Luc Picard, he also experienced a nasty bout of Shalaft's Syndrome as he developed. Shinzon also discovered that his genetic programming was breaking down and he was dying. His only hope of survival: a complete blood transfusion from the real John Luc Picard. Thus, his ploy to lure Picard to Romulus under the guise of peace negotiations. At the film's conclusion, Shinzon's plan to harvest Picard's vital fluids to restore his own health failed and Shinzon went up in a blaze of glory as his predator starship Scimitar exploded into space. Before the ship exploded Picard transported onboard the Scimitar, hunted down Shinzon, and impaled him on a piece of wreckage. Dying, Shinzon disregards the spear in his body, pulls himself closer to Picard and clasps his dying hands firmly around Picard's throat. Picard, however, dematerializes and transports back to the Enterprise. Shinzon's last words: "I'm glad we're together now --our destiny is complete." An excerpt of the film's script follows:
 

Shinzon: Allow me to tell you a story that I hope will clarify my position. When I was very young I was stricken with an odd disease. I developed a hyper-sensitivity to sound. The slightest whisper caused me agony. [Picard watches him carefully]. No one knew what to do. Finally I was taken to a doctor who had some experience with Terran illnesses and I was finally diagnosed with Shalaft's syndrome. Do you know of it, Captain?
Picard: You know I do.
Shinzon: Then you know it's a very rare syndrome.  Genetic.  All
the male members of my family had it. Eventually I was treated. Now I can hear as well as you can, Captain. [Shinzon steps toward Picard who holds his ground.]
I can see as well as you can.  I can feel everything you feel. [He stops right before Picard] In fact, I feel exactly what you feel. Don't I, Jean Luc? [Picard stares at him and marvels that Shinzon's face is nearly identical to his own at that age]. Do you trust me now?
Picard: We need to talk, just you and I.
Shinzon: Come to dinner on Romulus tomorrow. Just the two of us. Or just the one of us.
Picard: You know I need to verify this .
Shinzon: I know. [Shinzon calmly pulls out a Reman knife and cuts his arm, drawing a little blood. He hands the knife to Data.] Tomorrow then, Captain. We have so much to discuss.
Picard: [Picard touches his communicator pin] Picard to Enterprise. Five to beam out. [Picard's eyes never leave Shinzon as the transporter effect ripples around him.]

SUE THOMAS: F.B.EYE/PAX/2002-2005 (Deaf Lip Reader)
*(Deanne Bray) Sue Thomas, a tenacious but soft-hearted FBI agent who moves from the Fingerprint Analysis Division to an elite surveillance team when her keen ability to read lips comes to the attention of one of the bureau's handsome agents. Sue had been deaf since childhood but could speak naturally and read lips  a talent that helped her transition smoothly through her college years. Sue's constant companion is a hearing-ear dog named Levi, a Golden Retriever (played by Jesse the dog). The series is based on a true story about the real Sue Thomas, deaf from the age of 18 months, who overcame significant obstacles to work for the F.B.I. and later as a motivational speaker and the author of the best selling autobiography, Lip Service, Born in Ohio, Sue Thomas also earned her degree in International Relations and has done post graduate work in Counseling. The role of Sue Thomas is played by deaf actress Deanne Bray who is also an experienced lip reader. Severely deaf since birth, Bray is a veteran of Deaf West Theatre in California and has appeared in several films and television series. Although she loves acting Bray is passionate about teaching. She has taught science and math to deaf and hard-of-hearing students in East Los Angeles and has established a literacy program -- the Little Bookworm Club.

TWIN PEAKS/ABC/1990-91 (Hard of Hearing)
**(David Lynch) Hard of hearing FBI Bureau Chief Gordon Cole David Lynch was the show's producer. The program also featured Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie), a red-haired woman with a black eye patch over her left eye who lived in the strange Northwest town of Twin Peaks. Nadine failed an attempt at suicide and later, losing touch with reality, began to believe she was back in high school. There was also a supernatural little person known as the "Dream Dwarf" and "The Man from Another Place" (played by Michael J. Anderson) who lived in a dream like world surrounded by red curtains. When he spoke, his voice sounded as if it was being played backwards. There was also a one-armed man named Phillip Michael "Mike" Gerard played by Al Strobel. See also NICKNAMES: "The Log Lady"

ZORRO/ABC/1957-59 (Deaf & Mute)
*(Gene Sheldon/costar) Bernardo, the deaf mute manservant of Don Diego De La Vega alias the masked swordsman, Zorro. The mute Bernardo, the only other person who knew of Don Diego's dual identity, faked his deafness to aid his master in thwarting the evil politicians of early California. He communicated with hand signs. Bill Dana played Bernardo on the spoof of the original series ZORRO AND SON/CBS/1983. In 1990 Zorro returned to television on the western series ZORRO/FAM/1990-93 starring Duncan Regehr. This time around Zorro's mute aide was named Felipe (Juan Diego Botto).


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