Danny Murphy- ROLL Model

Hollywood actor Danny Murphy is often recognized as “that guy in the wheelchair,” for his roles in a number of Farrelly Brothers’ films like, “There’s Something About Mary”,"Me, Myself and Irene”, “Kingpin”, and “Shallow Hal”.  Danny’s done a great deal of television and stage work as well during 11 successful years in Los Angeles. He’s now returned to where his career began in South Florida with a mission to make the community an even more viable alternative location for Los Angeles studios and producers to film upcoming films and television productions. As a quadriplegic, Danny is also determined to see more actors with disabilities featured on the silver screen and on television by getting more performers with physical and even mental challenges acting work.

Danny’s history with disabilities goes back to August 1974, when he and his friend Pete Farrelly, now a famed movie producer, were sailing to Martha’s Vineyard off of Cape Cod. When they arrived at the island, Danny was the first to dive into the waters of Oaks Bluff Harbor. That dive broke his neck, caused a spinal cord injury and changed his life forever.

Graduating from Stonehill College, near Boston, with a degree in Criminal Justice, Danny pursued a successful corporate career working for Liberty Mutual Insurance and Lotus Development Corporation. Eventually, he moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to help develop businesses involving the Americans with Diabilities Act (ADA). He became an avid sailor and became part of the Shake A Leg (SALM) organization in Miami. SALM is dedicated to using the marine environment and water sports to improve the quality of life for individuals with physical, developmental, and economic challenges.

Twenty years after his accident, Pete Farrelly invited Danny to the premier of his film, “Dumb and Dumber”. After the screening, Danny kidded his pal about not having any wheelchair users in the film. That comment landed Danny a role in Pete’s next film, “Kingpin”, starring Bill Murray and Woody Harrelson.  This is when the acting bug officially bit Danny and his career took off.

Danny, who had been living in Florida, sold his home and moved to Los Angeles, where he appeared in nine feature films, numerous television shows, and many theatre productions. In addition, he became a producer of his own shows and a leader in the movement to help performers with disabilities (PWD) get more roles in movies and on TV. He is a co-founder of the international public relations campaign “Inclusion in the Arts and Media of People with Disabilities” (www.IAMPWD.org), which raises awareness about the lack of opportunities for people with disabilities in the entertainment industry.

“One in five Americans has a disability, which equates to 20% of our nation’s population,” says Danny. “Yet disability is represented only one half percent of the time in all of the industry’s productions for film and TV,” he says. “We are the largest minority in the country and producers and studios need to realize how important our contributions can be to the industry and to the nation.”

As a new member of Film Florida (www.filmflorida.org), Danny explains: “I know South Florida is the ideal location for making movies and TV productions. We have the weather, the talent, world class facilities and the production capabilities to create many different types of films and television programs.”

I’m using my credentials and contacts in the industry, along with my marketing and speaking experience, to assist in state and local efforts to bring more productions from the West Coast to the Florida market. I’m looking to work with the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment (www.filminflorida.com), along with many of the state’s film commission offices to encourage the growth of this industry in our state. It’s all about jobs, opportunities, and pride in all that Florida has to offer the entertainment industry. I know we can make it happen and I know we can show Hollywood what diversity really means by reaching out to and including performers with disabilities in these efforts.”

Although Danny’s return to South Florida brings him closer to family and old friends, his main reason for returning is to bring movie making to South Florida. “There are many talented people here and everyone in Hollywood loves shooting here. I want to be involved in making this happen on a major scale,” he says.