In her upcoming memoir I’m Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond, actress and comedian Geri Jewell reveals a secret: she’s gay. But it’s hardly the only or even the most interesting of the many challenges she’s faced. (Nor is she the only TV star coming out. On March 1, Meredith Baxter, she of Elyse Keaton fame on “Family Ties,” will release her memoir, Untied, detailing her coming out and struggle with alcohol.) Jewell, who played Blair’s cousin Geri Tyler on “The Facts of Life” from 1980-1984, was born with cerebral palsy and made TV history as the first person with a disability to have a recurring role on a prime time series. In 1985, she performed at the White House and later had a role on the HBO series “Deadwood.” Jewell’s book “also depicts some of the less-than-rosy events that happened behind closed doors during her initial climb to fame—among them, her release from ‘The Facts of Life,’ her manager’s embezzlement of the money she made on the show, and her struggle with chronic pain, despair, and a fear of revealing her true sexual identity.”
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