Actress/Comedienne Geri Jewell Releases Memoir 'I’m Walking As Straight As I Can'

By: Jan. 19, 2011

I'm Walking As Straight As I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond is a new memoir that tells the powerful life story of actress/comedienne GERI JEWELL. Born with cerebral palsy, 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, making TV history on December 24, 1980, when she appeared on the NBC sitcom "The Facts of Life." Thirty years later, millions of people remember her groundbreaking role as Cousin Geri, during her four seasons on the show.

Indeed, the double meaning of the title: I'm Walking As Straight As I Can, refers both to Jewell's sexuality and to her extraordinary struggles growing up with cerebral palsy. This candid memoir details her experiences from her birth in Buffalo, New York, to her rise to stardom as a stand-up comic to becoming the first person with a disability to be featured in a recurring television role. She documents the harsh realities of Hollywood, relentless discrimination and abuse at the hands of people she trusted. Her experiences in the shark infested waters of Hollywood lead her on a journey from the Comedy Store to the White House, followed by a downward spiral, tax problems, marriage, drug addiction and an accident that nearly claimed her life.

The final chapters reveal Jewell's inspiring resurgence from the brink of despair to the landing of her role in HBO's hit series "Deadwood." Through her tears and triumphs, she is transformed into a shining symbol of hope for anyone who dares to follow their dreams. I'm Walking As Straight As I Can is an amazing story, told with grace and self-deprecating humor; one that gives readers a rare glimpse of true courage and perseverance.