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Academy Awards and Images of Physical Disability

April 15, 1990

We in the disability community were euphoric over the choice of Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor for "My Left Foot." But our bubble was burst by Joan Collins.

In a TV interview, Collins expressed awe at the talent of Day-Lewis, a handsome actor, she said, "who could make himself look so ugly!" This remark was a slap to the 43 million disabled Americans. "Ugly," she said of a character with cerebral palsy.

This is Hollywood; this is where images are made. If society must change its negative image of persons with disabilities, this is where it ought to start.

"Ugly" is not how a person deviates from the physical norm; ugly instead is prejudice.


Executive Director

Adapt Southern California

Los Angeles

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