HOMEwiredwheelbaner.gif (7519 bytes)
June 12th 1999

Acting on Wheels
PWD's in Hollywood
Alan Toy

Hi Gary. Gosh, there have been hundreds of such instances over the past twenty years (and much longer actually, but there has been an active movement in Hollywood to include pwds since about 1978). It's hard to know when to start. I've had scores of credits myself, including Kansas, a mediocre film with Matt Dillon and Andrew McCarthy that had a lead role of a reporter played by a para (me) on crutches. This was in no way related to a plot device, just creative casting. I played a shadowy, but important character in In the Line of Fire who tells Clint exactly who he's been chasing for the previous hour and a half and a news vendor in a scene with Keanu in one of his early efforts called The Night Before.

Other roles I've done, besides the one's my friend and fan Naomi has mentioned, include: Striking Resemblance, an erotic thriller, emphasis on erotic, in which I played a police coroner ala Quincy. This is a good one for you married guys to rent, since there's lots of T & A, but you can explain that you got it to check out the disabled guy. It's a better excuse than getting Playboy to "read the articles." I just did another flick for the same company called Seventh Sense. Same deal, lots of skin, thank god not mine. In this one I played an eye doctor for a blind woman (the skin).

I did a Michael Madsen film a few years back called Dead Connection in which I was also a coroner. And more years ago, I did a dreadful T&A thing called Kandyland, in which I played a strip club (Kandyland) owner. Also did a part that was weird, but again not thematic (the best kind for our future in Hollywood products, I think) called, of all things, Who Killed the Baby Jesus?. In my early days here, I worked on Swing Shift and 9 to 5 in very minor roles, but once again, as a part of the American scene. Oh, and there was another doctor role in a scene with Mark (Luke Skywalker himself) Hamil in a perfectly awful thriller called Black Magic Woman. All of the above were characters in chairs or on crutches, but not written as disabled to further the plot.

Then there's lots of roles (too many, but the work is rewarding) playing the Vietnam vet gimp parts: Born on the Fourth, Rockets Red Glare (just did that one, it's not out yet), To Heal a Nation (with Eric "I wish I was making as much as my sister" Roberts) and Guest roles on shows like Hunter, Benson, Simon and Simon, etc. Even played Korean vest in both M*A*S*H and After M*A*S*H. Dozens of other roles include Airwolf, Equal Justice, Matlock, etc. But the best ones were like Trauma Center, BH 90210, in which the character just happened to be disabled. We can have more of those, if people will make their concerns known to producers and networks.

My career isn't the only one to mention either. Christopher Templeton has had a lot of success (by the way, she's just starred in an action movie playing a chair-using para detective-type role. Robert David Hall is a talented working double leg amp actor. Richard Redlun gets lots of work.

Michael D'amore is up and coming. And the list goes on and on. It's great to have so many people with mobility disabilities working on stuff (although I admit I don't particularly care for all that competition sometimes).

Thank you for creating a place on the net where we can start building an historical legacy of the successes we've had as well as some of the dog-butt crap we've had to put up with too.

Alan Toy

From: AToyfam@aol.com
Date: 11 Jun 1999
Subject: Paras, etc. in TV and film
To: garyis@paralinks.net
Naomi's Alan Toy web page

Thank you Alan for your insights and overview of PWD's working in the movie business!
Check out the Paralinks movie page.

The Wheelchair in the Movies

Main Contents Page | World-Wired-Wheels | World's Wheelchair Culture | Sex & SCI
E-Mailer | Paralysis Information Page | The PAiN files

Back to the top of page