Geri Jewell Opens up about the Hardships of Being a Gay and Disabled Woman on TV
Unfortunately, Geri Jewell didn't have things as easy as the next guy, mainly because of her sexuality and her disability. But that didn't slow her down in achieving her goals in the industry.
Jewell began starring in the comedy sitcom "Facts of Life" at the young age of 23. She starred as the lead character Blair's cousin who had cerebral palsy.
What most weren't privy to was the fact that Jewell just like her character, suffers from the disability in real life. She was born with cerebral palsy.
Being born with a disability meant that she had to fight extra for everything she wants in life. Growing up, her frustrations keep piling up and one of it was the special education geared classes she was placed in.
However, in college, she found the silver lining she always hoped for when she was advised by a friend to try out comedy.
HER LIFE ON "FACTS OF LIFE"
Jewell who was known for often making jokes about her disability on "Facts of Life" was well loved by many don the show, but unfortunately when her character was killed off, she never got a spin-off.
After the show, Geri Jewell struggled with life for a while. She later supported herself by attending speaking arrangements and also starring in the movie "21 Jump Street."
In 2002, things took a positive turn when the actress ran into David Milch, the "NYPD Blue" creator. Milch was excited to meet Jewell and even informed her she is one of his favorite comedians.
The meeting, however, yielded good results for Jewell who was asked to be cast in Milch's new "HBO" show, "Deadwood."
I'M WALKING AS STRAIGHT AS I CAN
In 2011, Geri Jewell came out in her memoir "I'm Walking as Straight as I Can." The comedian detailed her experience in Hollywood and told her truth to the world.
“All of my life, I’ve dealt with people’s different perceptions of me — I’m a drunk, I have a cognitive developmental disability, I’m a victim and sufferer of cerebral palsy — I’m 58-years-old, and people still talk to me like I’m five-years-old and get patted on the head,” Jewell said.
Even with the disability, Jewell did find a way and a path for herself. Although according to her, if she had known it was going to be this hard, she would have opted for another path.
And guess what? Nobody can crack you up with cerebral palsy jokes as Geri Jewell can.