MR. SUNSHINE/ABC/1986 (Blind)
Paul Stark (Jeffrey Tambor), a demanding, acerbic, and very bright blind college English professor who was trying to patch up his life after an unhappy marriage. Paul lost his sight in an automobile accident.
Series characters included: Grace D’Angelo (Nan Martin), Paul’s sarcastic personal secretary who warns him: “You can’t afford to be bitter; you’re not that pleasant to begin with.”; Mrs. June Swinford (Barbara Babcock), a dizzy, middle-aged landlady who has the hots for Paul; Janice Hall (Cecilia Hart), a no-nonsense female friend; and Professor Leon Walters (Leonard Frey), a haughty, but bumbling teacher colleague.
Note: The controversial series ran for 11 episodes. Some critics of the show believed many of the jokes on the program exploited the blind professor’s disability. The American Foundation of the Blind, remarked, “Let us hope that ABC has the decency to remove this throwback to the Middle Ages from the air.”
Jeffrey Tambor Tambor researched his role by studying and observing at the Braille Institute for the Blind in Los Angeles.
DeGRASSI JR. HIGH/SYN/1987-91 (Wheelchair)
Maya Goldberg (Kyra Levy), a kind, caring, confident Jewish teenager who attended Degrassi Jr. High School. She was born with Spina Bifida and moved about on a wheelchair.
Her character appeared on DJH from September 1987 to June 1989 and later on the sequel series DEGRASSI HIGH SCHOOL from September 1989 to June 1991.
In the sequel series, DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION characters who found themselves in wheelchairs included: Nadia Yamir, Jimmy Brooks, Trina Brooks, Mr. Ehl and Margaret Matlin.
- Nadia Yamir (Mony Yassir), confined to a wheelchair, she attended the DeGrassi Community School and was a member of the Yearbook Committee and Chess Club on season 2 and 3 of DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION/2001-20015.
- James “Jimmy” Brooks (Aubrey Graham), a black graduate of the Class of 2007, attended DeGrassi Community School. Born September 1987, he was a school basketball star until a shooting at school left him crippled in Season 4. He was shot in the back (by Rick) leaving Jimmy paralyzed from the waist down. He earned the nickname “Houdini on Wheels.”
- Trina Brooks (Terra Vnesa), the fiancée of Jimmy Brooks. Trina was paralyzed from a fall while rock climbing. She met Jimmy Brooks in . Later, Jimmy proposed marriage and she accepted.
- Mr. Ehl (Roger McKeen), disabled mechanics teacher at Degrassi Community School. He navigated via a motorized wheelchair.
- Margaret Matlin (Spirit Synott in season 11), has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, but is able to walk with crutches. She is the mother of Maya and Kaite Matlin. To relieve pain, Margaret takes Codeine pills. The roll of Margaret was portrayed by actress Kate Hewlett beginning in season 12.
BOSTON PUBLIC/FOX/2000+ (Missing Hand)
Meredith Peters (Kathy Baker), a 46-years-old, blond female who took a job at Winslow High School in Boston as a teaching assistant volunteer and later as a teacher.
Meredith lost her right hand in an alleged “gardening” accident and keeps her hand in a jar filled with formaldehyde. Behind her back, she is called “The Hook” and “The Hook Lady” by students and staff.
How’d she lose her hand? Well, Meredith insisted that her son Jeremy, get all A’s at school. She locked him in the basement to make sure he studied. On graduation night 2001 (Episode “Chapter Twenty-Two” aired 05/21/01) Jeremy was asked to attend the ceremony to receive an award as the most promising Junior of the year. Before he left home, he handcuffed his mother in the basement. Meredith accidentally cut off her right hand in an attempt to use a chainsaw to escape her confinement.
Later, Meredith let Jeremy (an aspiring medical student with the highest IQ in the senior class) take it to Winslow High School to dissect it under the supervision of the science teacher. The science teacher commented that the area of amputation was jagged and he criticized the doctor for such sloppy work. This comment led to speculation that maybe Jeremy had killed his mother.
When faculty members visited the Peter’s to check on the mother, they found Meredith alive but with a bloody stump on her right arm wrapped in bandages. Meredith explained away her condition away as a gardening accident. This left the faculty members speculating that maybe Jeremy had chopped off her hand.
Note: Meredith’s personality is icy and menacing. She fills her weekends with endless baking, knitting, and attentive acts of smothering motherhood but inside Meredith is lonely and yearns for companionship. She hasn’t had sex with a man since the “accident” because she fears they will be repelled by her prosthetic hook. To take away the shock of her metal hook, she contemplated buying a life-like rubber hand.
Scott Gruber, her new boyfriend and Assistant Principal at Winslow High School, offered to share half the cost of the rubber hand to help cement their relationship as a couple.
On episode “Chapter Thirty” (aired 01/07/02) Meredith now wears her new prosthetic hand. But, in the midst of a heated argument about Jeremy’s possible homosexuality, Scott puts Meredith in her place and starts to leave the room. Meredith, thinking their relationship is crumbling fearfully asks “You’re not going to take away my hand?” Of course, he didn’t.
Mr. Macavey (David Alan Grier), a high school teacher with the responsibilities of monitoring hallways. He carried around a miniature bull horn and hobbled about on his shatter hip.
He injured himself playing an innocent game of Twister. As his character said, “Left hand. Blue dot. That’s all she wrote.”
DeGRASSI JR. HIGH/SYN/1987-91 (Leukemia)
Lorraine “L.D.” Delacorte (Amanda Cook), a seventh grader who developed leukemia at age 15 and missed much of her freshman year due to chemotherapy and her growing reclusive nature. The character continued on the sequel series DeGRASSI HIGH.
FEELING FREE/PBS/1978 (Various Handicaps)
30-minute educational series designed to ease “mainstreaming” of handicapped children into normal school systems and life.
It featured regulars performing in studios and on location.
DeGRASSI JR. HIGH/SYN/1987-91 (Epilepsy)
Caitlin Ryan (Stacy Mistysyn) , seventh grade class beauty, aspiring actress, swim team member and school newspaper reporter for The DeGrassi Digest who struggled with epilepsy (controlled by medication).