Why do actors with disabilities still not receive recognition in Hollywood?

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Pedophile circus artist. Comical womanizer. Killer.

These were just a few of the roles offered to Danny Woodburn when he started auditioning for roles in film and television in the early 1990s. Woodburn, who describes himself as a small person, did not take long to discover that almost all of the characters that represented were “unhappy”, frustrated or wicked.

The actor and producer told HuffPost: “I think the usual idea for small people is that they should make scary or bestial characters.”

Even after getting a recurring role in Seinfeld and participation in series like Watchmen, Jane the Virgin e CSI, Woodburn said he still comes across casting opportunities that recycle buzzwords that evoke feelings of pity for the “poor little dwarf”. Just two years ago, casting directors tried to convince him to play a role in a Christmas special, saying he would have a chance to kiss a famous artist.

“The big attraction was that I would have a chance to kiss this well-known actress,” said Woodburn. “I replied, ‘Do you think I give a damn about that? You created a horrible stereotyped character and the idea is that I should be lucky because I, a small person, will be able to be in the arms of this well-known actress and kiss her on the screen? ‘ They were making light of the little people. ”

Woodburn turned down all the papers he considered to demean people with disabilities. He was determined not to contribute to the creation of images of disability that objectify the problem.

“It cost me a lot of work, but at the same time it guaranteed more longevity to my career”, he commented.


Danny Woodburn at a Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA event in Hollywood on September 11, 2018.

The entertainment industry has always struggled to provide an authentic representation of people with disabilities. In 2016, according to a study by the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, only 2.7% of the characters in the 100 …

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