They'll Take Romance
Andrea herself predicts that there might not be many dry eyes among viewers when she and Burke begin their four-episode romance on March 29. "They might cry because it's like a dream," she says.
The dream began last fall when Friedman, recruited by the show's staff to join other young adults with Down's syndrome in commenting on the series, lamented the fact that Corky (Burke), Life's indomitable Down's syndrome teenager, had no girlfriend. "Andrea helped put the idea into the producers' heads," says Marjorie, 62. After auditioning, Andrea, who had begun acting in children's theater at 10 as a form of therapy, was chosen to play student Amanda Swanson. "I was so happy when I found out," she says.
Friedman's accomplishments are remarkable, considering that when she was born, a pediatrician told her attorney father, Hal, 67, "She will be a vegetable." But Hal and Marjorie brought a stream of college students into their Brentwood, Calif., home to help care for Andrea and to engage her intellect. Her parents also "main-streamed" her into traditional schools where her sister, Kay, 19, became her protector.
These days Andrea, like her character, drives a car (a 1985 BMW), attends college (she studies psychology at Santa Monica College) and has a job (office work at her father's law firm). She is also getting to know her leading man. They recently shared an after-hours pizza and, with Burke's parents, went to see Hook. "Chris is very sweet," she says. Burke, though, waxes effusive. "She is my forever girl," he says. "We're showing people that we're no different from them."