Actress Andrea Fay Friedman dies at 53

December 10, 2023

Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who - among other roles - played Amanda Swanson in Life Goes On, has died at the age of 53. 

Friedman's passing, according to the New York Timeshas been confirmed by her father.

Cause of death

It is well-known that Friedman had Down syndrome, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a genetic disorder that causes "lifelong intellectual disabilities and developmental delays."

Down syndrome, according to the outlet, also causes other medical problems, and it appears that it is one of these medical problems - specifically Alzheimer's disease - that led to Friedman's passing.

"Andrea Fay Friedman, an actress who starred in the groundbreaking television series Life Goes On, died on Sunday at her home in Santa Monica, California. She was 53," the Times reports.

It continues, "The cause was complications of Alzheimer's disease, said her father, Hal Friedman. He said that she had not been able to speak for the past year because of the disease, which is common in people with Down syndrome who are over 50."

Who was Friedman?

In brief, she, despite her Down syndrome, was a successful actress.

"In 1992, the California native became one of the first actors with Down syndrome to appear in a television series, playing the role of Amanda Swanson in ABC's Life Goes On. After two seasons, Friedman went on to land guest spots in shows including Baywatch, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Law and Order: SVU," NBC New York reports.

Friedman tended to play characters with developmental disabilities, which, at times, did lead to controversy. The chief example is probably her role on Family Guy, where she voiced Ellen, a character with Down syndrome.

NBC reports, "During the episode, her character made a reference to Sarah Palin and her now 15-year-old her son Trig, who also has Down syndrome."

Palin responded by criticizing the show, and Friedman responded by saying, "In my family, we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life."

"Up syndrome"

Suffice it to say that Friedman took great pride in her acting, viewing it as giving representation to those people who had the same sort of medical problems as she had.

Friedman, in fact, once referred to Down syndrome as her "up syndrome." And, she has certainly been a big inspiration to many people.

Friedman is survived by her father, Hal, and her sister, Katherine Holland.

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