I’m Walking As Straight As I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond - ECW Press

I’m Walking As Straight As I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond

Jewell, Geri, Ted Nichelsen

  • A candid memoir of building an acting career — and a happy life — with cerebral palsy: “It’s a joy to read this book.” — Ian McShane, award-winning actor from Deadwood and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

    Geri Jewell inspired a generation of young people when she became the first person with a disability to appear in a recurring role on prime-time television, with her groundbreaking character, Cousin Geri, on the NBC sitcom The Facts of Life

    Exposing real pain, unstoppable perseverance, and unquestionable faith in the human spirit, this autobiography offers a true glimpse beyond actress Geri Jewell’s public image as a one-dimensional hero. Born with cerebral palsy, Jewell made history when she became the first person with a disability cast in a recurring role on American television in The Facts of Life, and in the years that followed she experienced a string of other successes, including a performance at the White House and a role on HBO’s Deadwood. But along with such accomplishments, this personal story also depicts some of the less-than-rosy events that happened behind closed doors during her initial climb to fame — among them, her release from The Facts of Life; her manager’s embezzlement of the money she made on the show; and her struggle with chronic pain, despair, and a fear of revealing her true sexual identity.

    Told with grace and humor, this inspirational narrative presents an honest portrayal of a woman who refused to give up when others kept knocking her down.

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  • Geri Jewell has enjoyed a thriving career now spanning over three decades. She has been the recipient of many awards, including the 2005 Independent Living Legacy Award, and the 2006 Victory Award. She lives in Los Angeles, California. Ted Nichelson is a writer, musician, scholar, business entrepreneur, and pop culture historian. He is the co-author of Love to Love You Bradys (ECW, 2009) with Brady Bunch star Susan Olsen. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

  • Published: April 2011

    ISBN: 9781550228830

    Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.

    Pages: 264


“Geri is a natural at whatever she does. It was a joy to work with her. It’s a joy to read this book.” — Ian McShane, actor (Al Swearengen in Deadwood)

“I have known, admired, and adored Geri Jewell since the beginning of her comedy career. She is not only brilliant and funny, she has overcome an impossible obstacle in Hollywood; she’s a brunette.” — Elayne Boosler, Comedian, Writer, and Founder of Tails of Joy

“I haven’t known a more inspirational life and talent than the one described in these pages. One of the true gems in my career is Geri Jewell.” — Norman Lear

“Geri Jewell is not only a fabulous comedienne, actress, and motivational speaker, but advocating for people with disabilities has made a difference in the lives of millions. Lord knows she’s had an impact on my life! Granted, if she could just sit still, I could read her lips once in a while!” — Kathy Buckley, Comedian and Actress

“I laughed, I cried, and then stood up and applauded when I finished reading Geri’s book. It’s much more than a great read, it’s a salute to the human spirit and an inspiration for anyone with a dream.” — Anson Williams, actor/director