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WOODLAND HILLS : Wheelchair Gives Actress Freedom

January 21, 1995|MICHAEL ARKUSH

Actress Mabel King gained her freedom Friday.

King received a customized wheelchair that will allow her to get around on her own. Her other wheelchair made her constantly dependent on another person.

"I have my own Rolls-Royce," said King, 62, best known for playing the Wicked Witch of the West in the Broadway and film versions of "The Wiz." She also starred in ABC-TV's "What's Happening!!" which ran on the network from 1976 to 1979. "This means freedom to me. I won't get stuck anymore."

King got her gift at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, her home for the last five years.

It was made possible through $3,800 raised in last October's special benefit at St. Anne's Melkite-Greek Catholic Church in North Hollywood, which featured choreographer Fayard Nicholas, singer Barbara McNair and singer-songwriter David Pomeranz. About 150 people attended the event.

Dick Sheehan, who produced the benefit, said the rest of the money for the wheelchair came from Columbia Pictures, which produced King's television series.

King, who has lost both legs from diabetes, said she's still interested in pursuing a show business career.

"Roosevelt ran the country without walking," said King, who last appeared in 1991's "Dead Men Don't Die" with Elliot Gould. "I can think. I can see. I can do anything. Just don't ask me to tap dance."

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