[[quoteright:350:[[Series/{{Smallville}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/disabledcharacterdisabledactor_1753.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[-Creator/ChristopherReeve, in a scene from ''Smallville''. The wheelchair and respirator are '''''not''''' props.-] ]]

->''"We always had a deaf character in the script, but [[Creator/JohnKrasinski John [Krasinski] ]]really pushed for them to hire Millicent [Simmonds]. She came to set and taught everyone sign language. It was really amazing and brought an extra depth to the film."''
-->-- '''Scott Beck''' on casting for ''Film/AQuietPlace''

This is about when an authentically disabled person is cast, rather than an able-bodied performer. For a long time in film, theater, and television, when a work called for a character with a disability, it was the norm to cast perfectly able-bodied actors in those roles, especially if the role was one of the leads (you still want to cast a big name star in the lead role, despite the character's disability, after all). This was such a norm that the casting of authentically disabled actors as disabled characters has only become more commonplace since the late 1980s, though normally such actors are in supporting or background roles.

It should be pointed out that there are times when the use of a non-disabled actor in such a role is justified. For example:
* If the character is not disabled throughout the whole story. Generally involves the following variations:
** A previously able-bodied character becomes disabled.
** The character [[ThrowingOffTheDisability recovers from their disability]].
* If the character [[ObfuscatingDisability is not really disabled]].
* Filming conditions would be very impractical for the degree of disability such as location travel, stunt work, number of lines or long shooting hours.

Related to CastTheExpert. See WrittenInInfirmity for cases where a performer became disabled during the run of a show and this was acknowledged in-universe.



[[folder: Anime]]
* The English dub of ''Manga/ASilentVoice'' has Shoko voiced by deaf actress Lexi Cowden.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/IAmSam'', the mentally impaired protagonist is played by the neurotypical actor Creator/SeanPenn, but many of the actors who play his housemates are disabled like their characters.
* The Farrelly Brothers movies often use real handicapped people to play handicapped parts (for example, the mentally handicapped Special Olympians in ''The Ringer''). The Farrellys are heavily involved with working with organizations for the handicapped and disabled and portray them favorably as real, grounded, and likable people, but also without playing up their disabilities, with those characters accepting their handicaps as part of their everyday life, such as Hal's friend with spina bifida in ''Film/ShallowHal''. This usually also highlights a dichotomy with their protagonists, who have grievances in their lives that seem very superficial compared to the physical and mental disadvantages their friends have.
* In ''Children Of A Lesser God'', every deaf character is played by an actual deaf actor.
** Any role Creator/MarleeMatlin plays, notable as she's often the lead.
* The only role that Oscar winning actor Harold Russell ever played that was ''intentionally'' written as disabled was his role in ''Film/TheBestYearsOfOurLives''. He played a sailor who lost both hands during World War II (just as Russell himself had in real life). He ended up winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and another honorary Oscar, having never acted before, becoming the only person who has won two Oscars for the same performance. In all his other roles, he played men who just ''happened'' to be disabled, but the disability wasn't the point of the character.
* ''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'' used actual patients in the institution where they filmed as extras.
* The 1932 movie ''Film/{{Freaks}}'' featured many legitimately disabled actors, including "Prince Randian" (who was born without limbs), Simon Metz (born with microcephaly, a smaller skull and brain) and Minnie Woolsey (who suffered from Virchow Sekel Syndrome, a combination of skeletal malformation and dwarfism).
* Likewise, the deformed and maimed characters in ''Film/ElTopo'' are played by real amputees and people with actual deformities. Of particular note is a legless man who rides on the shoulders of his armless companion.
* In the opening scene of ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'', a soldier who had just had his legs blown off was played by an actor who had lost his legs years before.
* The anti-drug Jesusplotation horror film ''Blood Freak'' has a scene where a guy's leg gets cut off, which they managed to make a bit more convincing by hiring a guy with a prosthetic leg to play the victim.
* Similarly, one of the "found footage" moments in the {{Mondo}} film ''Film/FacesOfDeath IV'' involves a junkyard worker whose left leg is severed below the knee while he is attempting to retrieve parts from a wrecked Oldsmobile. The actor was a colleague of the film's producer who had lost his left leg in real life a few years earlier.
* In ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' they hired a man with only one leg to play the Black Knight after Arthur chops one of his legs off. Amusingly, the man [[NamesTheSame happened to be named Richard Burton]]. Creator/JohnCleese would joke later about having Creator/RichardBurton as a stunt double.
* The EvilAlbino in ''Film/EndOfDays'' was played by the genuinely albinistic actor Victor Varnado.
* Jade Callegory, who played the disabled main character in ''Film/MacAndMe'' suffers from spina bifida in real life.
* In ''Film/SoulSurfer'' it is both averted and played straight. Bethany Hamilton, whose life story the film was depicting, was played by Creator/AnnaSophiaRobb in the dialogue scenes. However, when they wanted a stuntwoman to play a one-armed surfer they of course got a one-armed surfer. Guess who she was...
* In the 2010 film of ''Film/TrueGrit'', a woman missing her left forearm was hired to play [[spoiler:the older version of Mattie]] (whose arm was amputated due to a snake bite [[spoiler:near the end]]) in shots where her face is not seen. She wound up having more screen time than the actress credited with playing [[spoiler:older Mattie]].
* ''Film/TheThing1982'' has a particularly infamous scene where a man's arms are suddenly bitten off by the titular monster. For two shots that each lasted only a few seconds, there was an actual amputee standing in the actor's place wearing a mask in his likeness.
* Deaf actor Russell Harvard plays an adult H.W. Plainview (rendered deaf from an explosion) in ''Film/ThereWillBeBlood''.
* The Belgian film ''The Eighth Day'' has Pascal Duquenne (born with Down's syndrome) playing an institutionalised man with Down's syndrome.
* The two eponymous martial artists of ''Film/TheCrippledMasters''. Both actors had developmental disorders which had resulted in a lack of legs and a lack of arms respectively and both had since trained in martial arts despite their disabilities.
* The actor Jay C. Flippen lost a leg to diabetes in the 1960s. He plays a political operative in a wheelchair in ''Film/TheSevenMinutes'', and in ''Film/HellFighters'', his character, Jack Lomax, is written in as a man who is in a wheelchair, having broken his back while fighting an oil-well fire.
* For ''Film/TheToxicAvenger'', Creator/LloydKaufman hired an amputee so Toxie could rip his arm off. Of course, the SFX team still had to make a fake stump to put over the man's actual stump, to compensate for the difference between a freshly ripped-off arm and a healed stump.
* In ''Film/{{Precious}}'', Precious' child with Down Syndrome is played by a child with Down Syndrome.
* In ''Film/ResidentEvilRetribution'', the deaf girl Becky, is played by Aryana Engineer, who is deaf in real life. The character Becky was not originally to be deaf, but after an outstanding audition, the role was given to her.
* In ''Film/SpyKids'' Juni and Carmen Cortez's grandfather Valentin is played by Ricardo Montalbán, who used a wheelchair in real life.
* In ''Film/FourWeddingsAndAFuneral'' lead character Charles often has conversations in sign language with his deaf-mute brother David, played by real-life deaf actor [[TheDanza David]] Bower.
* ''Film/BenHur'': One of the more memorable scenes in TheWarSequence is a galley slave escaping with a bloodied stump where his hand used to be. The director noticed the man had only one hand, had it splashed with fake blood, and reshot the scene with him.
* In the 1963 film ''If A Tree Falls'', multiple deaf characters (who played supporting and background characters) are portrayed by real-life deaf actors. It is the first movie of the [[TheSixties 1960s]] ever to have actual deaf actors casted in the film.
* ''Film/ShaunOfTheDead'' also used amputees for several of the zombies, most notably a one-armed bridegroom, and a legless zombie Shaun and Ed accidentally run over.
* Similarly, ''Film/DawnOfTheDead2004'' used several real-life amputees to make some particularly noteworthy zombies, including the Asian man with a chewed off arm that tries to fight his way through the door and the legless zombie that swings across the ceiling pipes monkey-bar style to pounce on one of the survivors.
* ''Film/RainMan'', similar to ''I Am Sam'' and ''Cuckoo's Nest'' (see above) where many autistic extras were used.
* In ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings: The Two Towers'', the Battle of Helm's Deep features a quick shot of a soldier turning his head toward the camera to reveal an empty eye socket. From Website/IMDb: "The performer who played him showed up as an extra, wearing an eye patch; director Creator/PeterJackson politely asked to see what was under the patch, and then inquired if the gentleman would be interested in appearing in the film sans eye patch. The gentleman was reluctant at first and quite self-conscious, but afterward said [[HeartwarmingMoments the experience had made him more comfortable with his condition]]."
* In ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad'', the very small and mobility-disabled Corpus Colossus is played by Quentin Kenihan, who has the same disabilities due to severe osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease).
* ''Film/TinyTiptoes'' plays this straight for the most part by casting actors with dwarfism (including Creator/PeterDinklage) as little people -- but bizarrely, Creator/GaryOldman of all people also plays a little person.
* In a sort of inversion of Creator/GaryOldman as a little person, Creator/PeterDinklage would later play the ''ComicBook/XMen'' villain Bolivar Trask in ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast''. The character didn't have dwarfism in the original comics, but Dinklage's audition was just so good that he got cast due to AbilityOverAppearance, making it an example of Initially Able-Bodied Character, Disabled Actor (much like how ''Series/StrangerThings'' retroactively gave Dustin the same disability as his actor).
* Peter Sellers did his scenes of ''Film/DrStrangelove'' in a wheelchair as he was recuperating from a sprained ankle.
* ''Film/BabyDriver'' cast deaf actor CJ Jones as Baby's deaf foster father Joseph.
* In ''Film/AQuietPlace'', deaf child actress Millicent Simmonds plays a deaf girl.

* An in-universe example: In the novel ''Literature/DreamPark'' by Creator/LarryNiven, Jerry Pournelle, and Stephen Barnes, during the course of an amazingly elaborate Live Action Roleplaying Game that utilizes high-tech special effects, the players encounter (among other things) a one-armed, one-legged zombie played by a one-legged, one-armed actress. The fact that she's real and not a special effect (most of the zombies are holographic) shocks one of the players into inaction enough to allow the amputee zombie to "kill" her.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Kurt Dykhuizen, who was born deaf, played Jason on ''Series/BarneyAndFriends''. He shared some ASL, but his hearing aid never came up in conversation.
* Pictured: Creator/ChristopherReeve's appearances as Doctor Virgil Swann on ''Series/{{Smallville}}''.
** Even earlier than that, Reeve appeared in a TVMovie remake of Creator/AlfredHitchcock's ''Film/RearWindow''.
** His last film role before he was paralyzed ironically had {{inverted}} this trope, playing a man who ''faked'' the condition (the real life accident happened only five days after the film premiered).
* Shoshannah Stern plays deaf hunter, Eileen Leahy on ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''.
* Clark Middleton, whose struggle with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis retarded his growth and prevents him from having full range of motion, spent two years on ''Series/LawAndOrder'' as Doctor Ellis, one of the show's Medical Examiners. Ellis's lab has access ramps, lower counters and examination tables, and is built to "little person" scale, something once remarked upon by Lennie Briscoe. Most of Middleton's other roles, however, were characters who just ''happened'' to be disabled.
* Geri Jewell, who played Jewel on ''{{Series/Deadwood}}'' and [[TheDanza Geri]] on ''Series/TheFactsOfLife'', actually has cerebral palsy.
* S. Robert Morgan, who played Butchie on ''Series/TheWire'', is actually blind. The only difference is Morgan lost his sight to macular degeneration while Butchie lost it to a gunshot wound.
* Corky from ''Series/LifeGoesOn'' had Down's Syndrome, as did Chris Burke, the actor who portrayed him.
* Darryl Mitchell: paraplegic in real life as well as on ''Series/{{Ed}}'' and ''Series/{{Brothers}}''.
* Actor Michael Patrick Thornton, who is partially paralyzed and uses a wheelchair regularly (though he can walk for short distances) can regularly be seen playing a doctor who ''just happens'' to be in a wheelchair on ''Series/PrivatePractice''.
* ''Series/SueThomasFBEye'', based on the true story of a deaf FBI agent, features numerous deaf actors playing deaf characters. Most of them, excepting Deanne Bray in the title role and [[RealPersonCameo Sue Thomas in a cameo]], act entirely in American Sign Language.
** ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' would later cast Deanne Bray as the deaf character Emma, with her power of enhanced synesthesia being tied into her disability.
* Grandma Esther Walton was depicted as suffering a stroke on ''Series/TheWaltons'', after Ellen Corby, the actress who played her, suffered one in 1976.
* During the fourth season of ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent'', Captain Deakins suffered through a bout of Bell's Palsy and was forced to wear an eyepatch for several episodes. This was because the actor playing Deakins, Jamey Sheridan, was actually suffering through a bout of Bell's Palsy and was forced to wear an eyepatch.
* This trope is both invoked and subverted in the ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' episode "Competence." The episode is about a young woman, Katie, who has Down's Syndrome. She becomes pregnant after being tricked into having sex by her boss (she doesn't understand what's going on - he tells her it's "exercise" and her mother sheltered her enough that she didn't know better). She wants to keep the baby, but her mother fears she isn't mentally capable of raising a child. While Andrea Fay Friedman (who plays Katie) does have Down's Syndrome, her mentally-handicapped boyfriend is played by a non-disabled actor.
** Both played straight and subverted with two-shot character Amy Soleway, portrayed by Deaf actress Marlee Matlin. Soleway is deaf (as most of Matlin's characters are), but in her second appearance in "Parts", she is also unable to walk and uses a wheelchair, an additional disability that Matlin did not have.
* All the major deaf characters in ''Series/SwitchedAtBirth'' are played by actors with some sort of hearing impairment, most being profoundly deaf.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'': RJ Mitte has mild cerebral palsy in real life. Walt Jr. was conceived from the start as having it, and Mitte had to learn to walk with crutches and speak ''less'' clearly to portray the level of affectation that the show's creator had in mind.
* Robert David Hall, who lost his legs in 1978 when an 18-wheeler crushed his car, plays Dr. Al Robbins on ''Series/{{CSI}}''. His character's legs were lost when he was hit by a drunk driver; both Hall and Robbins walk using prosthetics and a cane.
** The only time in Hall's entire career that he was ever hired for a role ''because'' of his disability was when he played the amputee Mobile Infantry recruiter in ''Film/StarshipTroopers''.
** Both ''Series/{{CSI}}'' and ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'' have starred Deanne Bray and Marlee Matlin in roles as deaf characters. On ''CSI'', Bray played the head of a school for the deaf and Grissom's ex-girlfriend, while on ''CSI: NY'' Matlin played the deaf mother of a murdered deaf girl.
* Similarly, there's Jim Byrnes on ''Series/{{Highlander}}: The Series'' and ''Series/{{Wiseguy}}''; both he and his characters, Joe Dawson and Lifeguard, were double amputees.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' featured an episode called "Loud as a Whisper", about a deaf mediator named Riva. Riva was played by deaf actor Howie Seago, who had petitioned the producers of the show to make an episode about deaf people, mostly to dispel myths about them.
* In the ''Series/{{Monk}}'' episode "Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink," when Dr. Kroger throws in the towel and quits his profession after his cleaning lady is killed in his office, Monk is redirected to a colleague of Dr. Kroger's, Dr. Jonah Sorensen, who has an amputated right arm as the consequence of a boating accident (though Dr. Kroger appears unaware of this, given that in a later scene he states "I heard he lost some weight"). Dr. Sorensen's actor is an actual amputee, and the idea as to what kind of physical abnormality he should have was Creator/TonyShalhoub's.
* Actor Mitch Longley was paralyzed in a car accident his senior year in high school. Despite this, he went on to be a very successful actor, with roles on several TV shows and [[SoapOpera Soap Operas]], including one where he played a physician. He was written as "normally" as possible. Any difficulties in mobility were also incorporated into the show--a narrow-minded supervisor was reluctant to let him participate in a surgical rotation, and he was given a groundbreaking storyline in which his character embarked on a romance with another--it was made clear that his injuries had not affected his sexual abilities.
-->"My disability is a huge thing to some people, but to me it's just a personal characteristic like hair color. I'm hoping that in a few years, it won't even be an issue for me as an actor because it will be so commonplace."
* Actress Amy Ecklund, who was deaf, was hired to play deaf Amish girl Abigail on ''Series/GuidingLight''. She was given typical soap opera storylines, though an [[NearRapeExperience attempted rape]] was made all the more frightening by the fact that she could not hear her attacker creeping up on her. Towards the end of her tenure on the show, both the actress-and consequently her character-had a cochlear implant.
* ''Series/{{Glee}}'' has both played this trope straight with one-off character Sean (played by paraplegic actor Zack Weinstein) and Becky and Jean (both actresses do have Down's Syndrome) and (to much controversy) {{averted}} it with Artie. The supposed reason was one dream-sequence song where Artie got up and walked, which would not have been possible with an actually paraplegic actor.
* One of the lead characters of ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryMurderHouse'' has a daughter, Adelaide, with Down's; she's played by Jamie Brewer, who has Down's syndrome. Brewer went on to become the first person with Down's syndrome to model at New York Fashion Week, in 2015.
** The series' anthology set-up, in which they bring back actors in new roles in later seasons, means that Jamie Brewer appears in ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryCoven'' and ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryFreakShow'' as well. Refreshingly, her roles in these later seasons do not expressly require an actor with Down's syndrome (even the Freak Show character--who is heavily implied to be a [[spoiler: hallucination]] and is NOT one of the titular freaks). Brewer is included the same as her colleagues because its the nature of the show.
* ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryFreakShow'' played this trope straight, but also averted it. Legless Suzie, Paul the Illustrated Seal, Ma Petite, and Meep are all played by actors that share their conditions. In contrast, Jimmy, Pepper, Elsa, and the Twins are all the result of elaborate special effects. Notably, Jyoti Amage, the actress who plays Ma Petite, has been listed in the Literature/GuinnessWorldRecords book as the shortest adult woman in the world.
* In ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'', Didi the one-legged woman that Earl slept with [[spoiler: (and stole a car and prosthesis from)]] is played by an actress that does, indeed, have only one real leg.
** Similarly, Didi's unnamed boyfriend is played by an actor/motivational speaker who is missing both legs and one of his arms.
** Marlee Matlin also played Joy's deaf lawyer, who used sign language interpreters to help with her work. They playfully made a gag where Earl loved her "accent."
* Marlee Matlin as Joey Lucas on ''Series/TheWestWing''. Both Matlin and Lucas are deaf.
* Basically, if your character is a deaf woman, you get Marlee Matlin. If she's a deaf woman who needs to do a whole bunch of talking, you get Deanne Bray. Yes, they ''have'' appeared together.
* Actor J. Grant Albrecht, who uses a wheelchair due to a spinal condition, plays an Assistant District Attorney on ''Series/InPlainSight'' who just happens to be in a wheelchair. His disability has never been mentioned on the show.
* On ''Sonny Spoon'', the eponymous main character had a sometimes-sidekick who was (and was played by) a man with no legs (the abovementioned Jim Byrnes).
* ''[[OneEpisodeWonder The Paul Reiser Show]]'' attempted this, with Paul's older son being played by Brock Waidmann, who has spina bifida. He wasn't in either of the two episodes that aired.
* Creator/MichaelJFox, who has Parkinson's Disease and had retired from major acting roles, has returned to a [[Series/TheMichaelJFoxShow lead role]] by playing a TV News reporter with Parkinson's who is returning to his news show after retiring when he was diagnosed.
** He's also played Louis Canning on ''Series/TheGoodWife'', a lawyer who has a similar condition and shamelessly plays it up for sympathy before juries.
** He also [[AsHimself played himself]] on an episode of ''Series/CurbYourEnthusiasm'', where Creator/LarryDavid is convinced that Fox intentionally shook up a soda Fox had given him, and used his Parkinson's as an excuse (they had gotten into a bit of a shouting match shortly before Fox offered the soda as a peace offering).
** In a lot of his characters these days, the character is given the same condition to explain Fox's movements, but it's more "We want Michael J. Fox" than "we want a disabled character and if the actor's the same it'll tug at the heartstrings all the more." Which is pretty awesome when you think about it.
** Played with in ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', where Fox played a surgeon with OCD; a psychological rather than physical condition, but one that could result in the same visible symptoms.
* ''Series/CoronationStreet'' has had a few wheelchair-using characters in its time, though previously they were played by able-bodied actors. Currently, however, both Izzy Armstrong and actress Cherylee Houston, who plays her, suffer from a rare connective tissue disorder, Type III Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
* ''Series/NewTricks'' introduced Holly Griffin (daughter of retired cop Danny Griffin), played by Storme Toolis, in series 9. Both Griffin and Toolis are wheelchair users due to cerebral palsy.
* In the ''Series/GameOfThrones'' episode "Blackwater", the Baratheon lieutenant whom Tyrion surprises from behind by chopping his leg off with an axe was played by a one-legged war veteran with a fake leg for the special effect. In the commentary track, Creator/PeterDinklage muses that he didn't feel particularly heroic, ambushing an 80-year-old cripple.
** Also in ''Series/GameOfThrones'' the blind Maester Aemon is played by Peter Vaughan, who is visually impaired.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Mid-eighties recurring villain Sil is a mostly-aquatic sentient amphibian who is very clumsy on land and has to be carried around on a litter by flunkies. In reality, Nabil Shaban, who played him, has severe osteogenesis imperfecta, and uses a wheelchair.
** In the 2015 story "Under the Lake"/"Before the Flood", the deaf military scientist Cass was played by deaf actress Sophie Stone.
* ''Series/KidsIncorporated'' averted this with one-off blind character Suzanne, whose actress Angela Lee is actually sighted in reality, but played it straight with another one-off, a clown played by [[http://www.henryholden.com/ Henry Holden]] - both the character and actor are crippled. As [[http://www.kidsincorporated.us/henry.htm this link]] proves, the show had several more disabled characters after Holden's guest appearance, such as Jade Calegory of ''Film/MacAndMe'' fame in the episode "The Guitarist".
* In ''Series/TheFugitive'', the One-Armed Man was played by Bill Raisch, who'd lost his right arm in World War II. (Raisch played a few other one-armed characters in his career, most notably a barroom tough who fights with Creator/KirkDouglas' character in ''Lonely Are the Brave''.)
* ''Series/TheColbertReport'''s host, "Stephen Colbert", is deaf in his right ear. So is the comedian who plays him, the actual Creator/StephenColbert.
* ''Series/{{Fargo}}'': Actor Allan Dobrescu has cerebral palsy, as does his character, Charlie Gerhardt. Similarly, Mr. Wrench, a season one antagonist and fan-favorite character, is a deaf hitman played by Deaf actor Russell Harvard.
* ''Series/StrangerThings''
** Averted with Aimee Mullins, who plays Terry Ives. Mullins is a double-legged amputee who has given TED talks about prostheses, while the character is disabled in a completely different way but (presumably) has both of her natural legs.
** Played straight with Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin). In the first episode, Dustin states he has [[https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/gard/6118/cleidocranial-dysplasia/resources/1 cleidocranial dysplasia]], which is also true of Matarazzo. That's the reason of his missing front teeth and being able to do "that thing" with his shoulders.
* ''Series/TwinPeaks'' has Gerard, a.k.a. The One-Armed Man, who cut off his own arm as penance and to rid himself of the tattoo that allowed the demon MIKE to possess him. He is played by Al Strobel, who lost an arm at the shoulder in a car accident as a teenager.
* ''Series/{{Speechless}}'' has Micah Fowler playing J.J. [=DiMeo=], both of whom have cerebral palsy and normally get around in a motorized wheelchair. J.J.'s disabled friends are also played by disabled actors.
* ''Series/NCISNewOrleans'' has the BlackAndNerdy GeniusCripple Patton "Triple-P" Plame, who uses a wheelchair. His actor, Daryl "Chill" Mitchell, has used a wheelchair since being paralyzed in a motorcycle accident.
* Jackie Maclean, April's mother in ''Series/Class2016'', was in a car crash that left her in a wheelchair. She's played by the wheelchair user and disability consultant Shannon Murray.
* The fifth season of ''Series/{{Engrenages}}'' featured a traffic accident investigator played by an extremely short actor. He was shown to use various aids to use normal-sized furniture but his stature was never discussed in dialogue.
* The BBC MadeForTVMovie ''Don't Take My Baby'' revolves around a man with an eye condition. Although the lead is played by able-sighted actor Adam Long, supporting character Mike is played by Ross Grant - who has the same eye condition in real life. WordOfGod is that the part was written for him because of his condition.
* Michael Zaslow, who played David Renaldi on ''Series/OneLifeToLive'', was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and confined to a wheelchair. The character, who was absent from the show for several years, was given the same diagnosis when he returned. Also a case of TheCharacterDiedWithHim, as David was written to have passed away in 1998 when Zaslow did.
* In ''Series/{{Titus}}'' had an episode where Christopher was in a bad car accident and in the hospital, with the family trying to figure out what to do. A one-off gag had a kid in a motorized wheelchair harass Dave by blocking his path and eventually chasing after him. It so happens the kid was legitimately disabled and was on-set because of the Make-a-Wish Foundation as he was a big fan of the show, the producers [[ThrowItIn wrote in the gag]] as [[HeartwarmingMoments a surprise for him]].
* A fifth-season episode of ''DrunkHistory'' entitled "Civil Rights" discusses the 1977 [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/504_Sit-in 504 Sit-in]], in which disability rights activists staged a protest in a California federal building; all of the activists were played by actors with disabilities, including Sean Berdy (''SwitchedAtBirth''), Lauren Potter (''Series/{{Glee}}'') and Ali Stroker (''Theater/SpringAwakening''), among others.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Professional wrestler Gregory Iron genuinely has Cerebral Palsy. Most bad guys he feuds with will either mock his disability, or claim he's faking it.
* Professional wrestler Zack Gowen had his left leg amputated at the age of 8. He usually wrestles without a prosthetic.

* This trope is {{discussed}} in-universe and {{played with}} in Creator/MartinMcDonagh's ''The Cripple of Inishmaan'', where the disabled main character attempts to get cast in a film about a crippled boy. He doesn't get the part because the filmmakers would rather "cast a normal fella who can act crippled, than a crippled fella who can't act at all." It's also a moment of LeaningOnTheFourthWall, as the actor who plays Cripple Billy is almost always able-bodied.
* In a subversion of this trope (''Abled Character, Disabled Actor'') wheelchair-using actor David Adkins often appears in stage productions playing characters who aren't wheelchair users normally, and usually does so to rave reviews. He was even once cast in a production of ''Theatre/JuliusCaesar'' as Octavius, and performed the entire part from his wheelchair, which the rest of the cast simply pretended was not there.
* The 2015 revival of ''Theatre/SpringAwakening'' reimagines about half the characters as deaf and cast actual Deaf actors to portray them (with separate performers singing and speaking their lines on their behalf, with the entire show simultaneously performed in American Sign Language). The revival cast also includes Ali Stoker, the first Broadway performer to be in a wheelchair.
* The Czech actor Jan Kašpar was paralyzed after falling from a tree. All future plays of his theatre group ([[Creator/JaraCimrman Jára Cimrman]] Theatre in Prague) specifically included either a part of a wheelchair-bound man or a part where the actor spends the whole play sitting in one spot and never moves from it.
** Which also led to aversion -- Kašpar often alternated his parts with another, able-bodied actor.
* Deaf Broadway actor Joshua Castille, who debuted as Ernst in the aforementioned Deaf West production of ''Spring Awakening'', went on to play deaf teenager Billy in Nina Raine's ''Tribes'', and Quasimodo in the 5th Avenue Theatre production of ''Theatre/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', [[NonSingingVoice the latter's singing voice being provided by EJ Cardona.]]

* In ''Webcomic/UnintentionallyPretentious'', the actress playing Mia [[http://www.unintentionallypretentious.com/index.asp?c=114 is blind]], and that it was simply written into her character.

[[folder:Web Video]]
* In the web series, ''WebVideo/TheGuild'', both the character of Venom and the actress who portrays her, Teal Sherer, are paraplegic

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "Trade Ya", one of the vendors in the ChainOfDeals plot is a pegasus character with his legs fitted into something similar to [[http://www.wheels4dogs.co.uk/ "Walkin' Wheels."]] The character is voiced by a young fan with spinal muscular atrophy, and this was the result of a Make-A-Wish charity effort.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "Extra Large Medium", Chris dates Ellen, a girl with Down's syndrome. Ellen was voiced by Andrea Fay Friedman, who has Down's syndrome in real life.
** Peter's deaf co-worker Stella is voiced by deaf actress Creator/MarleeMatlin.
* WesternAnimation/PorkyPig was originally voiced by Joe Dougherty, who suffered from an actual stutter. He was eventually replaced when the stutter made recording too difficult. His replacement, Creator/MelBlanc, reproduced the stutter, and it has since become one of Porky's defining characteristics.
* The AnimatedAdaptation of ''Series/PunkyBrewster'' has the Emmy-nominated episode "Bright Eyes", which featured a deaf boy whose voice was furnished by an actual deaf child. Cherie communicates with him through sign language.
* CJ Casagrande from ''WesternAnimation/TheLoudHouse'' has Down's syndrome just like his voice actor Jared Kozak.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* During his time on ''Series/MacGyver'', the late, great supporting actor [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Elcar Dana Elcar's]] slow descent into total blindness due to glaucoma was written into the show as a part of his character's life. But even ''after'' Elcar went completely blind, he still played a lot of ''sighted'' characters, because he was just ''that'' good an actor.
* Another inversion: veteran British actor Eric Sykes went deaf in the early 1960s, and was registered blind in the early 1990s (his distinctive glasses had no lenses, and were a bone-conducting hearing aid). This didn't stop him appearing in post-2000 films like ''The Others'' and ''Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'', and on the West End stage.
* In addition to the already mentioned Creator/MarleeMatlin and Deanne Bray, Soshannah Stern is one of Hollywood's go-to people when a production features a deaf woman (although her deafness is often just a character trait and not the whole point of her being there--she has also {{inverted}} this trope by playing a ''hearing'' person at least once, in the TV movie ''Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story'').
** In fact, the ''Series/HallmarkHallOfFame'' movie ''Sweet Nothing In My Ear'' brought ''all three'' of these actresses together. The plot was about whether Matlin's character's deaf son (played by another deaf actor, Noah Valencia) would get a cochlear implant.
** And more recently, Katie Leclerc can be added to the list (she's worked with Marlee Matlin as well on ''Switched At Birth'').
* Alvin Law was born without arms. You may have seen him on an episode of ''Series/TheXFiles'' wherein he played a minister who... had no arms.
* Amputees In Action is a casting agency specializing in amputee actors and stuntmen, including the actor from the ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' example above. In their words, "The graphic reality of our amputations translates to stunning results on-screen."
* Actor Michael Berryman was born with Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia, a rare condition which caused him to have no hair, fingernails, or sweat glands. His distinctive appearance led to a career in horror and science fiction movies, usually playing villains, aliens, or monsters, most notably Pluto in ''Film/TheHillsHaveEyes1977''.
* Similar to Berryman would be Creator/RondoHatton, who acquired acromegaly from being gassed in WWI, and played a number of villains with his condition.
** Creator/RichardKiel, best remembered for his portrayal of the Film/JamesBond villain Jaws, also built his acting career on playing the "heavy" due to his acromegaly. His disabled status was compounded by a car accident in 1992, which left him with balance problems and need of a cane or, at the end of his life, a wheelchair.
* Creator/LionelBarrymore, from 1938's ''Theatre/YouCantTakeItWithYou'' onward, due to arthritis and hip injury requiring use of a wheelchair (he used crutches in ''Theatre/YouCantTakeItWithYou'').
* The U.S. military uses real amputee actors to play wounded soldiers in training simulations, to accustom trainees to the shock of dealing with limb-loss casualties.
* Actor Don Stroud had his face mutilated by a mugger and then played many characters who also had mutilated faces.
* When he was younger, the late Richard Lynch suffered 3rd degree burns over nearly 80% of his body, including much of his face. He made a career playing villains in both movies and TV, most of whom turned to villainy after being intensely burned in a fire. According to Lynch, putting his scars on display helped him get over the stigma of carrying them.
* Characters with Down's syndrome are almost always played by actors with Down's syndrome due to the characteristic facial features of the syndrome, which are hard to fake.
* Characters with dwarfism are also usually played by little people; one notable and downright ''bizarre'' exception is ''Film/TinyTiptoes'' (see the {{Film}} section above).