PARK PLACE/CBS/1981 (Wheelchair)
Aaron “Mac” MacRae (Lionel Mark Smith), a black attorney in a wheelchair who worked for a legal aid clinic in Manhattan, New York City. Aaron received his injuries while fighting in Vietnam.
The series was cancelled on April 30, 1981, after four episodes.
NOAH’S ARK/NBC/1956-57 (Wheelchair)
Dr. Sam Rinehart (Victor Rodman/costar), an aging veterinarian confined to a wheelchair who was assisted by Dr. Noah McCann (Paul Burke), his younger colleague and their secretary, Liz Clark (May Wynn).
NATIONAL VELVET/NBC/1960-62 (Injured Leg)
Mi Taylor (James McCallion), an Irish born ranch hand working for the Brown Dairy Ranch owned by Martha (Ann Doran) and Herbert Brown (Arthur Space).
When Mi was a jockey in England, he was thrown from a horse and broke his leg. The injury ended his career. He now walks with a limp.
He uses his experience to help a young girl named Velvet Brown (Lori Martin) train her horse, Blaze King for the Grand National Steeplechase.
Note: The series was based on the 1935 novel by Enid Bagnold. The series ran for a total of fifty-eight episodes. The 1944 movie National Velvet starred Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet Brown and Mickey Rooney as Michael “Mi” Taylor.
Born on September 27, 1918 in Glasgow, Scotland, actor James McCallion died on July 11, 1991 in Los Angeles, California.
MURPHY BROWN/CBS/1988-98 (Wheelchair)
Jeanine (Charlotte Price), disabled newsroom worker seen wheeling about “F.Y.I.” a news magazine based in Washington, DC.
Jeanine works with Murphy Brown, (Candice Bergen), a stubborn, extremely hot-tempered, middle-aged news reporter with a sarcastic streak and a drinking problem.
Jeanine appeared on episodes “Ticket to Writhe” (1993), “Murphy and the Amazing Leaping Man” (1993) and “Dick and Dottie” (1995).
Charlotte Price, like actress Madlyn Rhue, is afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis.
In an interview with Variety magazine (11/29/1992), Price (who started acting after she was disabled) confessed, “…when I go out to audition and the building doesn’t have an elevator, and the casting offices are on the second floor, I’ve found that usually people are very nice about it…They come down and I read for them in the parking lot.”
MURDER, SHE WROTE/CBS/1984-96 (Wheelchair)
Jean O’Neil, (Madlyn Rhue), disabled librarian who lived in the town of Cabot Cove. She greeted resident mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), by saying, “What will it be Jessica, more books on poisons?”
Jean the Librarian appeared on the episodes “Murder in Tempo: (1996); “Home Care” (1995); “Wheel of Death” (1994)’ and “The Legacy of Borbey House” (1993).
Note: In 1993, Madlyn Rhue needed a job to keep her medical benefits so she could obtain the drug Betaceron, an insulin like drug that stops the progression of Multiple Sclerosis. Angela Lansbury, subsequently hired her to play the role of a librarian on the program.
On the topic of disability, Madlyn Rhue said, “Whenever you have a continuing disease, it’s very hard to get insured on a series…I understand that. But I do get crazy when I can’t even try out for episodic work. My talent hasn’t diminished….All I can say is, I have my own driver, I have my own assistant. And I’m always on time.”
Born October 3, 1935 in Washington, District of Columbia, actress Madlyn Rhue died on December 16, 2003 (age 68) at the Motion Picture and Television Country Home retirement center in Woodland Hills, California. She passed away from complication of pneumonia and multiple sclerosis.
See also: Houston Knights
MISS SUSAN/NBC/1951 (Wheelchair)
Susan Martin (Susan Peters), a female attorney in a wheelchair who returned to her hometown of Martinsville, Ohio to practice law. Her love interest was Bill Carter (Mark Roberts). Laura (Helen Ray) was the family housekeeper.
Born Suzanne Carnahan in Spokane, Washington on July 3, 1921, actress Susan Peters graduated from the Max Reinhardt’s School of Dramatic Art and became a popular MGM actress until her career was sidelined a little more than a year after her wedding day when she was injured as a result of a New Years duck hunting accident in 1945 in the San Diego area with her husband, Richard Quine. Reportedly, she went to retrieve a rifle when it accidentally discharged. The bullet lodged in her spine and Peters was paralyzed from the waist down.
In 1942, Peters had earned an Academy Award nomination for playing Greer Garson’s daughter, Kitty in the World War I drama Random Harvest and was voted a “Star of Tomorrow” the following year.
After her divorce from her husband, Columbia pictures cast Peters in the role of a manipulative crippled wife using her handicap to hold on to a husband in The Sign of the Ram (1948).
Her last performance was MISS SUSAN (aka MARTINSVILLE, USA), a daily fifteen-minute soap opera broadcast from March-December of 1951 in Philadelphia. Suffering from acute depression and plagued by kidney problems and pneumonia, Peters died on October 23, 1952 (age 31) in Visalia, California.
Dr. Miles Hawkins (Carl Lumbly), a black scientist and owner of Hawkins Technologies who was shot by a crooked cop and left paralyzed from the waist down during the L.A. Riots of the 1990s.
Developing an exoskeleton suit that gave him the ability to walk, Miles Hawkins fought corruption from his secret headquarters beneath his coastal home near Port Columbia.
Hawkins originally developed his exo-skeleton with the help of his associate John Stonebrake (Roger Rees).
When Miles discovered the suit’s superhuman strength and speed, he decided to fight crime as a vigilante known as M.A.N.T.I.S. To stop criminals, M.A.N.T.I.S fires special darts that impart a temporary paralytic shock.
Miles fought corruption from his secret headquarters beneath his coastal home near Port Columbia. Dr. Hawkins placed the following newspaper ad “Need Help? No One To Turn To? 1-500-4-MANTIS.”
He traveled via a flying car known as the Chrysalis, originally designed as a prototype for the police. Miles’ alter ego was eventually discovered by a police detective Lt. Leora Maxwell (Gaylyn Gorg) but instead of exposing Miles, she joined forces with M.A.N.T.I.S to battle crime and bring back justice to the streets.
A bicycle courier named Taylor Savidge (Christopher Russell Gartin) – who also knew about M.A.N.T.I.S. – did the legwork for Miles Hawkins.
M.A.N.T.I.S. stood for Mechanically Automated Neuro Transmitter Interactive System.
MAJOR DAD/CBS/1989-93 (Wheelchair)
Major General Marcus Craig (Jon Cypher), a gruff, eccentric Marine Corps officer relegated to a wheelchair for a time while recovering from an injured leg at his Camp Hollister post in Farlow, Virginia.
In Season No. 4 Episode, No.8 “One for the Road” November 20, 1992 General Craig is on crutches and running amok.
THE MAGICIAN/NBC/1973-74 (Paraplegic)
Dennis Pomeroy (Todd Crespi), brilliant paraplegic son of Max Pomeroy (Keene Curtis), a syndicated columnist and novelist.
Although confined to a wheelchair, Dennis occasionally helped Hollywood magician/illusionist Anthony Blake (Bill Bixby) assist people in danger or trouble.
THE LOUIE SHOW/NBC/1996 (Wheelchair)
Helen (Nancy Becker-Kennedy), an upbeat, wheelchair-bound assistant to Dr. Louie Lundgren (Louie Anderson), a psychotherapist who works for an HMO in Duluth, Minnesota.
Note: Nancy Becker Kennedy was born in Skokie, Ill., and attended Knox College before transferring to State University of New York at Binghamton. At the age of 20, she was injured in a diving accident and spent the next six months in the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Nationally recognized as an expert on disability issues, Nancy has been featured in interviews in magazines such as Penthouse, Ms., and New Republic, and newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.
She wrote an autobiographical play entitled “I Had to Break My Neck to Get Here” about her life and her issues with breast cancer.
External Link: Nancy Becker-Kennedy @ Facebook