Herbie J Pilato’s TV Academy Profile in Courage

Actress Eileen Grubba on set of Sons of Anarchy

by Herbie J Pilato

Actress Eileen Grubba—physically disabled since childhood, and an advocate for Performers with Disability (PWD)—has always beaten the odds.

A few months before her 5th birthday, Grubba was paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors didn’t think she would make it, and when she did, they predicted she would never walk again. But she prevailed again.

Vince Staskel, also an advocate for PWD, was born with cerebral palsy and is a friend and colleague to Grubba. He says Grubba “forced herself to walk through sheer will, and it took a lifetime of effort to keep her walking.”

Once more, against all odds, she endured surgeries from the age of 14 all the way through 2016, and 2017 when they rebuilt her ankle two more times.

She also ended up with thyroid cancer from all the x-rays and radiation exposure as a child.

Most of her life doctors thought it was the oral polio vaccine that caused her to suffer with Guillain–Barré syndrome. But many years later, doctors at UCLA Neurology determined she had a C1-C4 spinal cord injury from a viral attack?—?not polio, but from the other vaccines given on the same day.

As a result of her numerous ankle surgeries, Grubba walks with a limp, and often uses a brace, and periodically, crutches and a wheelchair. She has faced discrimination from casting directors, producers, and others after they noticed her limping. But she still pursued her artistic passion….

Read it all at emmys.com


Writer/producer Herbie J Pilato is the host of the TV talk show THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, now streaming on Amazon Prime and the author of several pop-culture/media tie-in books. He has been part of TVWriter™ for over 20 years and is Contributing Editor Emeritus. Learn more about Herbie J HERE

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