Andrea Fay Friedman dies at 53

Andrea Fay Friedman known for her role on Life Goes On died at age 53. She passed away on Sunday in Santa Monica after having complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. Her father told the New York Times that she has not been able to speak for a year.

Andrea was applauded for her contribution to the visibility and representation for individuals with disabilities, especially Down syndrome. She played characters with the disorder, but her father told the New York Times that they looked at the disorder as an “up disorder.” Andrea saw success in her career, especially for her role on Life Goes On from 1992 to 1993.

Additionally, she appeared on Baywatch, Chicago Hope, and Saving Grace. She also had roles on Law & Order: SVU and ER. In 2009, a documentary was written, showcasing her success, called A Possible Dream: The Andrea Friedman Story.

Andrea also used her art as a form of political commentary. She came under fire for playing Ellen, a character with Down syndrome, in an episode of Family Guy. Not only was it a chance to tackle a different type of acting with voicing a cartoon, but she also delivered a satirical line. She said: “My dad’s an accountant and my mom is the former governor of Alaska.”

The character was, seemingly, referring to the Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin and her son Trig Palin, who has Down syndrome. When Sarah attacked the actress, calling her “cruel and cold-hearted,” Andrea replied in a statement to the New York Times: “I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor.”

She also told ABC that Sarah simply didn’t understand the point. As someone with Down syndrome, she explained that she didn’t see her syndrome as shameful and said that her character was meant to be seen as inspirational.

Andrea’s final project before her death was praised by Variety for “celebrating authentic portrayals” of those with disabilities. The film, Carol of the Bells, follows an adopted man who goes looking for her mother. He finds out that she actually has Down syndrome.

In other news – Actress Ellen Holly dies at 92

Ellen Holly, the trailblazing One Life to Live actress who became the first Black person to star on a soap opera, has died. She was 92. In a statement shared with PEOPLE, her publicist Cheryl L. Duncan announced that the actress died in her sleep on Wednesday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York.

Holly began her career on stages in New York City and Boston and made her broadway debut in Too Late the Phalarope in 1956. She went on to star in other Broadway productions such as Face of a Hero, Tiger Tiger Burning Bright and A Hand is on the Gate. She also made appearances on television shows including The Big Story (1957), The Defenders (1963), Sam Benedict (1963), Dr. Kildare (1964) and The Doctors and the Nurses (1963 and 1964). Read More

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