Glee/FOX/2009-2015 (Wheelchair/Damaged Spinal Cord)
Arthur “Artie” Abrams (Kevin McHale), a nerdish, paraplegic teenager with glasses who is confined to a non-motorized wheelchair. He was paralyzed by car accident when he was eight-years-old. Artie attends William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. His nemesis are members of his school’s football team who often bully him.
Despite the damage to his spinal cord, Artie is a normal teenager who wants to make friends and find romance with, among others, Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz), who had faked a stuttering speech impediment since the sixth grade; Britanny Pierce (Heather Morris), a cheerleader with whom Artie lost his virginity; and Kitty Wilde (Becca Tobin).
Artie is a member of the glee club group “The New Directions” where he sings, and dances in a fashion, by moving his wheelchair in time with the music and the other performers. He also plays guitar with the school’s jazz ensemble, dabbles in film directing, and is a member of both the A.V. Club and the Academic Decathlon team.
Aside from being a talented guy, Artie also has a kind and giving heart. When fellow student and cheerleader Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) damaged her spine (a truck struck her car) and had to use a wheelchair, Artie took the time to show her how to navigate the ramps and just have a fun time. After weeks of recovery, Quinn was able to walk again.
When the Glee Club is disbanded, Artie graduates and goes to the Brooklyn Film Academy in New York. While still at the film school, he returns to McKinley to help recruit members for the newly rebooted glee club.
In 2020, Artie’s film gets into the Slamdance Film Festival. It starred Tina (who is now his girlfriend). Later, Artie goes back to McKinley for the re-dedication of McKinley’s auditorium (Finn Auditorium) where he performs “I Lived” with every former member of the “New Directions.” They all take a bow.
Note: In the episode “Glee Actually”, Artie injures himself on an icy ramp, and angrily wishes he’d never had to be in a wheelchair. A subsequent dream, shows him walking.
Born June 14, 1988, actor Kevin Michael McHale (who is not disabled) was a former member of the boy band NLT (Not Like Them).
During the season one episode “Laryngitis” Sean Fretthold (Zack Weinstein), appeared as a disabled 16 year old male who lived in Lima, Ohio. He enjoyed math, singing and also attended William McKinley High School.
Sean played on the school football team until an accident paralyzed him from the upper chest down. He injured his spinal cord at the C4 vertebrae.
To get around, Sean used a wheelchair. When he first got his wheelchair, he pushed it into his family swimming pool in a fit of anger. He was a friend of Finn Hudson and Rachel Berry.
See also: Glee (2)
The Drew Carey Show/ABC/1995-2004 (Little Person)
Doreen (Debbie Lee Carrington), a feisty little person who works at the Winfred-Louder Department store in Cleveland, Ohio. At the store, Doreen admired coworker Mimi Bobeck (Kathy Kinney) and began to act and dress like her. Because she was smaller version of Bobeck, Doreen was called “Mini Mimi.”
Doreen cheered the larger Mimi when she insulted Drew Carey, the Asst. Director of Personnel with such barbs as “Bite me, Doughboy” and “Shut up, Pig!”
“One of these days, I’m going to bite you and I’m going to get very, very sick.” – Drew to Mimi
The Doreen character debuted on the first episode of Season 5 “Y2K, You’re Okay” (September 22, 1999) and made three more appearances on the show.
Note: Standing 3′ 10″ tall, Deborah “Debbie” Lee Carrington was born December 14, 1959 in San Jose, California. She is an actress and stuntwoman. Her TV credits included: The Tiny Avenger on the comedy sketch show IN LIVING COLOR (1991-1992); an Ewok in the Star Wars TV movie The Battle for Endor (1985); and Little Bigfoot on HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS (1987). Her film credits included: Thumbelina, a resident of the planet Mars in the sci-fi film Total Recall (1990); and an Ewok in the Star Wars films Return of the Jedi (1983) and The Ewok Adventure (1984).
See also: In Living Color (2)
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.
Eli Cartwright Goggins III (Daryl “Chill” Mitchell), an African-American in a wheelchair who becomes the newly hired supervising manager of the Stuckeybowl Bowling Alley in the town of Stuckeyville, Ohio. To get the job, Eli lied that he had all sorts of bowling alley experience.
Ed Stevens (Tom Cavanagh), the owner of the bowling alley investigated Eli’s background and despite all the lies about being qualified, Ed hired Eli because he liked Eli’s confidence and positive get-things-done attitude.
The Eli character joined the series during season 3 in the fall of 2002. His character was paralyzed in a motor cycle accident.
Note: In an internet interview “Ed’s Big Chill” by Daniel R. Coleridge (TV Guide Insider August 7, 2002) paraplegic actor Mitchell who hurt himself in 2001 explains:
“I was in a motorcycle accident in November, which left me paralyzed from the mid-chest down,” the actor recalls. “This show is a great blessing. It means more to me than just a job — it’s my first job back after my accident. It was all about, ‘Will I be able to produce… spiritually, physically, emotionally?’
“It was just about coming back to work and being able to perform,” he adds. “It was a serious head trip until we got the first scene in the can! They were like, ‘We want energy and attitude.’ Well, I brought the ‘tude.”
Mitchell had previously appeared on the situation comedies VERONICA’S CLOSET and THE JOHN LARROQUETTE SHOW.