Andrea Fay Friedman Dies: ABC ‘Life Goes On’ Star Was 53

TV Shows

Life Goes On star Andrea Fay Friedman has died. She was 53 years old.

The actor, who had Down Syndrome, passed away on Sunday, December 3, from complications due to Alzheimer’s, according to Variety.

Friedman’s most notable television role was her 14-episode run on ABC drama Life Goes On in which she played Amanda Swanson. The series told the story of the all-American Thatcher family as they dealt with the struggles of life and love in the Midwest suburbs. Created by Michael Braverman, the show ran from 1989 to 1993 and Friedman’s character Amanda was the girlfriend of Chris Burke‘s Charles “Corky” Thatcher. The series also starred Patti LuPone, Bill Smitrovich, and Kellie Martin.

Andrea Fay Friedman and Chris Burke in 'Life Goes On'

Friedman with Chris Burke in Life Goes On (Credit: (c)Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

Additionally, Friedman featured in episodes of hit shows ranging from Baywatch, Touched by an Angel, and Chicago Hope to Walker, Texas Ranger, 7th Heaven, Law & Order: SVU, ER, and Saving Grace.

She even lent her vocals to an episode of Family Guy as the character Ellen in the 2010 Season 8 episode, “Extra Large Medium.” In the episode, her character makes a reference to Sarah Palin, in relation to her son Tripp who also has Down Syndrome, to which the former Governor of Alaska reacted negatively. “Some things just aren’t really funny,” Palin had told Fox News at the time.

“I guess the former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor,” Friedman had written in response to The New York Times, noting that the joke wasn’t meant to mock, and that her character in the animated comedy was supposed to be inspirational.

Alongside her television career, Friedman made a splash in several films, with the most prominent being 2019’s impactful family drama Carol of the Bells in which she starred with Breaking Bad‘s RJ Mitte, soap performer Donna Mills, and more. And she captured hearts with her TV movie Smudge in 1997.

In 2009, she was the subject of the documentary A Possible Dream: The Andrea Friedman Story which was narrated by Joanne Woodward.

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