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?
I have season one of ” Life goes on,” Are there anymore seasons of that show, does anyone know?
Nope, not yet.
Hi I love Life Goes on .Chris Burke was a great actor played Corky Thatcher.
I love the Episode of Corky Thatcher and Amanda Swanson fell in love
Saw Chris on TV tonight with 6-year old model with Down syndrome Ryan Langston. Chris barely seems intellectually disabled. He’s a plain speaker with a spontaneous and mature sense of humor. Love to see him succeed.
I always liked the show Life Goes on and was sad when it was cancelled. I liked Chris Burke and thought he was a good actor and yes, I would love to see him on another show. I am glad to hear he is doing well.
Hi, I am a friend of Chris burke since i was 13. I would love to see him doing a role Show Swiched at Birth on the family channel. If Chris burke was in the show it would have so many ratings.
When Life Goes On was cancelled, it was the first show I ever petitioned a network for because of the cancellation. I didn’t watch ABC for years afterwards.
I loved this show – still remember it fondly. There should be more spots on TV for differently abled people. It helps gain acceptance and shows that they are productive and worthwhile members of society just as anyone else.
How lovely it is to see that in this youth obsessed industry, they remembered an actor old enough to be their parent. Having watched LGO back in the day, when I was in college studying for my BA in Sociology and working with some of the members of the DS community as a part of my work study, I found it exciting and daring that network television presented us with this program and equally impressed that it lasted as long as it did. Although I was disappointed that the last year lost focus on Corky, I still remember storylines involving… Read more »