L.A. LAW/NBC/1986-93 (Mentally Retarded)
**(Larry Drake) Benny Stulwicz, a mentally retarded office worker
for a Los Angeles law firm of McKenzie, Brackman who took Benny
under their wing when his mother (a cleaning lady for the firm)
died. Drake's performance of a mentally retarded man is probably the
finest since Cliff Robertson depiction of a mentally retarded man in
the movie Charly (1968). On May 18, 1988, Benny romantically kissed
his retarded girlfriend, Alice (Amanda Plummer).
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
MONK/USA/2002+ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
*(Tony Shalhoub) Adrian Monk, a private investigator with Obsessive
Compulsive DIsorder. He is single, germaphobic, afraid of the dark,
crowds, heights and milk. After the death of his wife Trudy Anne
Monk (1962-97) who was killed by a car bomb, Monk began to fall
apart. He got fired from his job as detective with the San Francisco
police when he began to manifest OCD. Until he can get his anxiety
problems under control, he won‘t be able to return to active duty.
Meanwhile, Monk hires himself as a private consultant and uses his
detective skills to solve crimes. His attention to detail and his
Zen/Sherlock Holmes like demeanor enables him to read people and the
environment, to see what others do not. Monk’s talisman is a set of
keys that belonged to his wife’s car. He holds them close until he
can discover the true facts behind her death. Monk occasionally will
play his clarinet at the foot of his wife’s grave. Monk’s sidekick
is a practical nurse named Sharona Fleming who monitors Monks
progress and helps him cope with stressful situations. For instance,
when Monk walks down the street, he will compulsively begin to touch
and count each and every parking meter he passes. And meal time has
a strict order: Tuesday is always chicken pot pie night.
ONCE AND AGAIN/ABC/1999-2002 (Mental Anxiety)
**(Patrick Dempsey) Aaron, the "Crazy Brother" of Lily
Manning.Sammler. At the age of 18, Aaron wanted to be a clown and
was an excellent juggler. At the age of 19, he wanted get married to
a girl, but his father protested and dragged him back to Chicago
from Florida. That's when Aaron started to change. Before the
illness, Aaron was fearless and passionate. After being brought
home, Aaron's sister Lily found him in his apartment. There was
dried blood all over the place. Aaron had been cutting his skin in
despair. He almost died on that occasion. After that he was put in a
hospital and has been in the Board and Care ever since. In 2002 he
ran away from the B&C to be with Miriam Rose Miller (Ally Sheedy), a
women (the victim of rape, drugs and abuse) with similar mental
problems. In his current condition Aaron gets upset and shouts "I
don't understand!" He likes to asked before anyone sits with him.
Hoping to piece his life back together, Aaron keeps a list of wishes
called "Aaron Lists of Dreams." One of which was to get a job. His
sister Lilly fears that living on his own Aaron will burn down the
apartment. Lily realized that Aaron will never recover. He will die
a sick man but she hopes for a temporary reprieve and supports his
relationship with Miriam, whom though disturbed herself, is truly in
love with her brother.
PARADISE/CBS/1988-91 (Mentally Retarded)
**(Patrick Labyorteaux) Jerome, a slow-witted frontier man who lived
in the town of Paradise. Once Jerome was accused of strangling a
girl who rejected him, but he was proven innocent.
POLICE WOMAN/NBC/1974-78 (Autism)
**(Nichole Kallis) Cheryl Anderson, an autistic female who lived at
the Austin School for the Handicapped during the first season of
this police drama. Cheryl's was the younger sister of Detective
Pepper Anderson, an LAPD undercover officer who occasionally visited
her. Cheryl's role was dropped in the fall of 1975.
ROSEANNE/ABC/1988-1997 (Mental Illness)
**(Mentioned not seen) Mrs. Audrey Conner, the mother of Dan Conner,
a construction worker living in Lanford, Illinois. For years, Dan
believed that his mother was abused and neglected by his salesman
father, Ed Conner. Dan recalled "My mother was in a bad marriage, in
and out of hospitals" because of Ed's neglect. Dan remembered how
his Dad once left for over two weeks with no word where he was.
Actions like that gave Dan the ammunition to believe his dad was a
bad husband. Always protective his mother, Dan fumed when his father
fell behind in his financial obligations to Dan's mom. When Ed
re-married a friend of the family named Crystal Anderson (Natalie
West), Dan felt it important to let her know what a rotten father Ed
had been. Drunk, he entered her house and began to break things.
However, the new wife revealed to Dan the truth about his mother -
that she was mentally ill, and that time to time had to spend time
in the hospital (her trips were often disguised as "visits to
relatives"). As Dan struggled with this revelation, Dan's wife
Roseanne tried to convince him "a person doesn't become mentally ill
when her spouse goes away on business trips." In reality, Ed Conner
let Dan believe that he was to blame for her condition. He figured
it was easier to have a bastard for a father that a crazy person for
a mother. Apologizing for the way he handled everything Ed Conner
confessed to his son Dan "I didn't want you to go around thinking
bad things about your mother." In the end, it was nobody's fault. Ed
loved his wife for 33 years and handled the situation the best he
could at the time. Realizing the truth of the matter, Dan tells his
wife "I can't take this." A short time later Dan and Ed reconciled.
However, Ed insisted that Dan not talk about the past anymore. The
storyline of Dan coming to terms with his mother's mental condition
appeared on episodes No.142 "Past Imperfect" and "Lies My Father Told
Me" that aired March 22 & 29, 1994.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE/NBC/1976+ (Impaired Memory)
*(Tom Hanks) Mr. Short Term Memory, an amiable fellow who can't
remember what he's talking about from one moment to the next Mr. STM
started a sentence or deed and then started it again, forgetting
that he previously just said or did something. The STM theme was
used in the motion picture Memento (2001) about a man named Leonard
Shelby (Buy Pearce) who was bent on avenging the rape and murder of
his wife. Unfortunately, he has to do all this without benefit of
short-term memories, the result of a brain injury sustained in the
incident. He can still recall events before the murder, but anything
in the present fades away in mere minutes. He relies on Polaroids,
notepad scribbles, and cryptic clues he's tattooed all over his body
to remind him of his current situation.
ST. ELSEWHERE/NBC/1982-88 (Autistic)
**(Chad Allen) Tommy Westphall, the occasionally seen autistic son
of Dr. Donald Westphall (Ed Flanders) Westphall worked at St.
Eligius Hospital in Boston and had to juggle a busy schedule tending
to the needs of his hospital patients and his autistic son. In the
final scene of the last episode Tommy stared into a small crystal
ball-the kind you turn upside down to make it snow inside. The
writers of the program tried to leave the audience with the
impression that the entire world of St. Eligius with all its
storylines were the product of this autistic child's imagination.
Inside the crystal ball was a likeness of St. Eligius Hospital.
WOMEN OF THE HOUSE/CBS/1995 (Mentally Retarded)
**(Jonathan Banks) Jim Sugarbaker, a mentally retarded man who lives
with his sister Suzanne Sugarbaker, a newly appointed member of the
House of Representatives. Jim's character, who always interjected
naive jokes and oozed of innocence, was a cross between Forrest Gump
(1994) and Dumb and Dumber (1994) movie characters.