The current issue of Entertainment Weekly has a nice feature on TV performers with Down syndrome. Actors profiled include Luke Zimmerman (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Jamie Brewer (American Horror Story), and Lauren Potter (Glee).
Naturally enough, they had a brief profile on Chris Burke, the actor who played Corky on Life Goes On. The TV series was the first to have a main character with Down Syndrome and ran for four seasons and 83 episodes on ABC, from 1989 until 1993. Here are the highlights:
Though Burke is still recognized on the streets as Corky, he’s most proud of his work as the goodwill ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society. He’s served since 1994.
He counts Zimmerman as a good friend and is very grateful for the new opportunities for the DS community. He said, “It’s given them the chance to do other things in life.”
Not being a fan of scary stuff, Burke hasn’t seen American Horror Story. He also doesn’t watch Glee because he feels that a real-life paraplegic should have been hired to play wheelchair-bound Artie. He says however that he’s thrilled for both Brewer and Potter in their roles.
Recalling his Life Goes On work, Burke said, “I have the best memories, working with that entire cast. I loved and adored Patti LaPone so much.”
Burke lives in Manhattan with his parents and would like to return to the industry someday. Now 46, he’d like to follow in the footsteps of former child star Ron Howard and also try working behind-the-scenes.
What do you think? What are your favorite memories of Burke on Life Goes On? Would you like to see him work on another show?