Disabled Actors in Mainstream Media

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Zack Weinstein is an actor and an ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Photo by Brad Buckman

Zack Weinstein is an actor and an ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Photo by Brad Buckman

By Valerie Martin

Ever since Glee shook the airwaves last year, the show has garnered controversy over one of its lead roles: Artie Abrams, the wheelchair-bound charismatic (and very talented) singer, played by non-disabled actor Kevin McHale. Since so few high-profile parts for disabled people come out of Hollywood, many disabled actors and activists alike were shocked and disappointed that the role of Artie was not given to an actor that was actually disabled like the character.

Possibly to help set its rep straight, Glee recently aired an episode on May 11 that included a guest-starring role for a disabled actor.  Zack Weinstein got the part and played a character that experienced a spinal injury and was confined to a wheelchair. NPR talked with Weinstein, as well as other disabled performers, on the issue of the representation of people with disabilities in mainstream film and television.

Read or listen to the full story at NPR.

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