'Facts of Life' star Geri Jewell comes out in new memoir, 'I'm Walking as Straight as I Can'

Im-Walking-as-Straight-as-I-CanGeri Jewell, who starred as Blair’s cousin Geri on The Facts of Life and became the first person with a disability to have a recurring role on prime-time television, comes out as a lesbian in her upcoming memoir, I’m Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond. According to the press release, the actress/comedienne, who was born with cerebral palsy, covers both her many accomplishments (a performance at the White House in 1985 and the role of abused maid Jewel on HBO’s Deadwood) and her struggles — which include tax problems, drug addiction and an accident that nearly claimed her life. The inspirational autobiography hits shelves April 1.

In 2004, Jewell told EW how she landed the role on Deadwood when the show’s creator, David Milch, spotted her at a Santa Monica pharmacy in 2002. She was getting medication for chronic pain in her neck, which she broke in 1999. ”I haven’t seen you on TV lately. Do you want to do a series?” he asked her, out of nowhere. Recalled Jewell, ”I looked at the ceiling and said, ‘God, you have a really quirky sense of humor. I’m standing here with CP and a broken neck, and David Milch wants me to ride a horse.”’

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  • Bebe

    Oh my. The Datalounge is going to have a field day with this one…

    • singy

      The problem with her on Facts of Life was she was not funny, and she was supposed to be a stand-up comic. When you can not live of to the high level of Tootie you should not have been on the show.

      And who cares about the Gay thing it is just another hoolywood trendy thing.

      • tomm

        If true, why are gays still the butt of jokes on ‘guy movies’? And why do studios consider the straight male audiance the ‘Holy Grail’?

      • jane

        well, I care about the gay thing specifically because there are still idiots who think it is a “Hollywood trendy thing”.

        I’m from a rural small town in a southern red state and I’m gay. It’s not a hollywood trend, it’s just a truth about me. I’d like to be able to be honest about it, they same way you can be honest about your relationships, without being accused of trying to get attention. the only way to change attitudes like yours is to have more and more diverse kinds of people come out so that people like you finally realize it is something as simple and harmless as being left handed. so, to put it simply, clueless people like you are the reason everyone should continue to care about it.

  • Maura

    I would have thought it would be Jo…

    • hob

      Nancy McKeon is straight, but yeah, Jo was probably gay.

    • Chad

      MP is that you? Best impression ever.

  • Mason

    I think she was a much bigger star on Deadwood then on Facts of Life. Shouldn’t that be in the title instead.

    • cameobrooch

      For a lot of people, she’ll always be Cousin Geri because that’s the role that put her on the map.

      • Garry

        Put her on the map? Has she had such a stellar career since that show? I had trouble remembering who she is. And who cares whether she’s gay or not?

    • Brett

      Guest star on long-running popular network television sitcom trumps supporting role on short-lived, little-seen pay-cable series, nine times out of ten.

  • Stephanie T.

    Nope. McKeon is straight as an arrow. Besides I would not believe that she was gay. That’s like saying Mariska Hargitay is gay because her character on SVU is a bit tomboyish.

    • singy

      Matiska is not Gay, she’s a Man baby!

    • alvin

      Oh yes, Stephanie, because there have never ever been gay people who could be mistaken for being straight. you are such a genius.

  • Ann

    I don’t want to sound harsh, but I always dreaded the episodes with Geri. They were downers, and the laugh track was cranked up to 10 to try and fool us into thinking Cousin Geri was funny.

    • Dave

      So true.

    • Shasta

      Come on, she wore a hilarious t-shirt that said, “I’m not drunk, I have cerebral palsy.” COMEDY!

    • myprettypony

      i have to agree. her episodes were horrible. i was a kid and i still cringed at her horrible jokes. facts of life was the inception of the “very special episode” thing that so many sitcoms would use in the 80s and 90s. Cousin Geri, Tootie meets a hooker, Blair befriends a hot, but retarded guy, teen marriage….ugh.

  • Tegan Jovanka

    Are we supposed to know who this is?

    • April C

      Not if you were born after 1978.

  • anona muss

    Wow, for her age, she is holding up well. Looks better than the Hollywood beauties that are the same age but botoxed to oblivion.

  • Juneau

    SHOCKER…NOT!

  • RB

    You there?

  • Clay Aiken

    What else can I say? Everyone is gay!

    • scrvet

      chokin’ on the ashes of her memory

      • Martha

        I was 286 went to Jenny Craig and lost like 40 lbs. in 4 months. The food does taste good but it is ouotegarusly priced. The same meals at cub cost like $2.65 and are like $5.50 at JC. My local office gave me very little counceling they really were just a glorified grocery store. But I did lose 40 lbs. fast so I did like it and it was worth it. I have been doe with it for a few months had two surgeries and have not gained any weight back. Any comments let me know.

  • Casey”The condor” Prosise

    I just had another one of my brilliant ideas!

  • Mario

    People need to stop criticizing her and attacking her. You should be ashamed of yourselves. The Facts of Life was PG comedy show, it wasn’t 30 Rock.

  • Brett

    Never hear of her

  • jo

    I thought all the Facts of Life ladies were gay?

    • Samuel

      They are not going to like this, but, you can eat what you want, how much you want, where you want and still keep a proper weihgt for life at best diet on earth .netKeep your money for other things, bye

  • CLEO2U

    SO WHAT?!
    Does she realllly think this is going to help her sell more books?!
    “coming out” seems to be the new “next best thing” to get attention. Please! Makes me want to gag!

    • jane

      It has nothing to do with getting attention and everything to do with being able to stop lying about something you’ve hidden your whole life. it feels good to be able to share that with people. why do you have to be so mean and cynical about someone you don’t even know?

      • Dan

        You’re right about one thing, Jane. Nobody knows who she is!

      • roeboat

        why would people you don’t know you care if you are gay or not, only your friends and family really care.

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