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Visually Impaired

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LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE/NBC/1974-83 (Blind)
*(Melissa Sue Anderson/costar) Mary Ingalls Kendall, the daughter of Minnesota farmer Charles Ingalls who lost her sight after a bout with scarlet fever that destroyed her corona on the two-part episode "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away" broadcast February 6 & 13, 1997. To help her cope, Mary was sent to a school for the blind (The Sleepy Eye School for the Blind) and later married her instructor (himself blind). Over the life of the series the blind couple moved to the Dakotas, then returned to Walnut Grove (Mary's hometown) and finally left for New York when Mary's husband Adam Kendall (Linwood Boomer) took a job as a lawyer with his father's firm after he (Adam) miraculously regained his sight via a freak accident. Adam Charles Holbrook Kendall Jr. the baby boy of Adam and Mary Kendall was killed in the fire at the blind school. Christopher Bowman played the recurring blind student, George, at the blind school where Mary and Adam worked. He is first seen in "Blind Journey" in which the school moved with the help of Charles and Joe Kagan, from Winoka to Walnut Grove. This frontier series was based on the Little House novels written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

LONGSTREET/ABC/1971-72 (Blind)
*(James Franciscus) Michael "Mike" Longstreet, an insurance investigator blinded when a booby-trapped bottle of champagne exploded (also killing his wife). After recuperating from the accident, Mike enrolled in a school for the blind and then returned to his job at Great Pacific Casualty Company based in New Orleans. He was assisted by a white German shepherd guide dog named Pax; an electronic cane which gauged distances using sound waves; and his devoted girl Friday, Nikki Bell (Marlyn Mason). After Mike was attacked in an alley, he hired a martial arts instructor (Bruce Lee) to teach him self defense.

MACGYVER/ABC/1985-92 (Blind)
*(Dana Elcar/costar) Peter Thornton, the Director of Field Operations for the Phoenix Foundation who supervised Angus MacGyver, a troubleshooter for the firm. A few years into the program, actor Dana Elcar discovered he was going blind. However, with a little help from his friends and crew of the show, he continued to work on the series.

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE/FOX/2000-2006 (Injured Eye)
**(Daniel von Bargen) Commandant Edwin Spangler, the head of a private military school. He has a patch over his left eye, sports a hook for his hand (he is missing his right hand - and later his left hand, as well), and limps from a bum leg. Spangler's life centered on tormenting and torturing the innocent students under his command. When he lost his job, he ended up in Alaska as an employee at Snow Valley Retirement Home where he bullied the elderly folks in his care.

MR. SUNSHINE/ABC/1986 (Blind)
*(Jeffrey Tambor) Paul Stark, a balding, blind college professor who was trying to patch up his life after an unhappy marriage. Barbara Babcock played his middle-aged landlady who had the hots for him.

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.

THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY/FOX/1998-99 (Colorblind)
**(John De Santis) Lurch, the towering zombie butler of Gomez and Morticia Addms who lived in an eerie Victorian house at 001 Cemetery Lane in Greenbriar, USA. Morticia dug Lurch up in a cemetery. Once Lurch tried to smile and his face broke.

NIGHT COURT/NBC/1984-92 (Blind)
**(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 Larroquette) 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.

ON THE AIR/ABC/1992 (Blind)
**(Tracy Walter) "Blinky" Watts, the apparently blind sound engineer who kept pushing all the wrong buttons on The Larry Guy Show variety program. Actually Blinky's not blind. "He suffers from Bozman Symplex; he see 25.6 times as much as we do."

THE OTHERS/NBC/2000 (Blind)
**(John Aylward) Albert McGonagle, blind member of a paranormal research community who has heightened sixth sense “They say when one sense is lost, the other sense is heightened. In my case, when a rocket grenade explosion took my natural sight, I gained my 6th sense. All I can see are psychic visions that I wish I were blind to. My visions are in the negative. The darkness appears light and the light is dark” (as stated on the NBC show website for “The Others“)

SABLE/ABC/1987-88 (Blind)
**(Ken Page) Joseph "Joe" Tyson, a blind black computer whiz who provides information to Jon Sable, a children's author and vigilante. Joe's nickname is "Cheesecake" because Sable sends a strawberry cheesecake to Joe when he needs information (the flap of the cake box hold instructions in Braille).

THE SAMMY DAVIS JR. SHOW/NBC/1966 (Injured Eye)
*(Sammy Davis Jr.) Sammy Davis Jr., the popular black singer, dancer and all around entertainer lost his left eye in an automobile accident on November 19, 1954 while driving from Las Vegas to Hollywood. He recovered from his injury at the Community Hospital in San Bernardino. Soon after the accident he began to wear an eye-patch. It was replaced by a glass (actually plastic) eyeball. When he returned to work at Ciro's, he received a ten minute ovation. Mr. Davis also appeared on THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE/ABC/1964-70 (an occasional host); THE NBC FOLLIES/NBC/1973 (a regular on the show); SAMMY & COMPANY/SYN/1975-77 (his own talk/variety show); and BARETTA/ABC/1975-78 (sung the theme song "Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow"). Sammy Davis Jr. died in 1990 at the age of 64.

SECOND SIGHT/BBC/1999-2001 (Blurred vision, blindness)
*(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.

SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN/ABC/1974-78 (Injured Eye)
*(Lee Majors) Colonel Steve Austin, USA Astronaut badly injured in the crash of an experimental moon-landing craft in the California desert. His shattered body was reconstructed with bionic parts which included a powerful right arm, two mechanical legs which enabled him to run faster than a car and a left eye which transcended normal vision. The price of his operation-six million dollars. Steve used his new found powers by working as a spy for the OSI (Office of Scientific Information). See also "The Bionic Woman"

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/SYN/1987-94
(Blind with Visual Prosthesis)
*(LeVar Burton/costar) Starfleet Lt. Geordi La Forge, a Helmsman (and later Engineer) for the 24th century starship Enterprise. La Forge "saw" via a prosthetic device placed over his eyes called a VISOR (Visual Input Sensory Optical Reflector). The curved, silver band of metal with rows of vertical slits was attached to two blinking red implants imbedded into each of his temples. Giordi's real eyes were covered with a film of white. His artificial sight transcended normal human vision. The powers of an alien named named "Q" once intervened to give La Forge a moment of "real" sight but Geordi refused the gift. In the Star Trek movie Insurrection (1998) Geordie no longer needed his visor. The miracle of technology had provided him with natural sight.

TRIVIA NOTE: The Geordi character was inspired by a young man named George La Forge who suffered from muscular dystrophy. However, his affliction didn't keep him from attending as many Star Trek conventions he could afford to go to. He became a friend of series creator Gene Roddenberry, who made George an honorary Lieutenant in Starfleet before George died in 1975. While creating new characters for his revival of the series Roddenberry remembered George and as a tribute to the valiant man, named the navigator of the starship, Geordi La Forge.

TAXI/ABC/1978-83 (Blind)
*(Danny DeVito/costar) Louie De Palma, a tyrannical dispatch operator for the New York City based Sunshine Cab Company who issued orders over the loudspeaker. When Louis stepped out of his wire covered office, he was seen for what he was, a pint-sized little twerp of a manager with more faults than you could shake a stick at. Louis was so despicable that he instructed his drivers not to pick up the handicapped because you could pick up four "normal" fares in the same period of time. Later in the series his character (now a bit more sensitive) fell in love with Judy (Murphy Cross), a blind woman introduced in the last season of this comedy series. Her sight was later restored via a surgical operation.

TWIN PEAKS/ABC/1990-91 (Injured Eye)
**(Wendy Robie) Nadine Hurley, 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. Also appearing was the hard of hearing FBI Bureau Chief Gordon Cole (played by the show's producer David Lynch). The program also featured 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"

WEREWOLF/FOX/1987-88 (Injured Eye)
**(Chuck Connors) Janos Skorzeny, an evil sea captain with a black patch over his left eye. His character had the ultimate handicap-he was a real life werewolf (killed later in the series).

WINNETKA ROAD/NBC/1994 (Blind)
**(Eddie Bracken) Father Burke, a blind Roman Catholic priest living in the Chicago suburbs of Oak Bluff, Illinois who looked after a young boy Nicky (Nicholas) Mear.

THE X-FILES/FOX/1993-2002 (Colorblind)
**(Nicholas Lea) Alex Krycek, Soviet double agent working with C. G. B. Spender, a.k.a. the Cigarette Man (William B. Davis), a mysterious operative under orders from a shadowy organization called The Syndicate. On the episode “Terma” Krycek lost his left arm escaping villagers who tried to help him from being a test subject at the Russian chain gang excavating rock from Tunguska, Russia. Krycek is responsible for terminating both William Mulder, the father of FBI agent Fox Mulder and Melissa Scully, the sister of FBI agent Dana Scully. Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) is red-green colorblind as revealed in episode “Wetwired.” Cigarette Man’s constant habit of smoking eventually gave him throat cancer. After his surgery, he still smoked by placing a cigarette at the hole in his throat.
 


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