Maybe you recognize him from NBC’s Ed or maybe you remember him from when he could walk when he was in Veronica’s Closet. Or maybe it was that show Brothers on Fox a few years back.
That’s what’s so incredibly blog-worthy (times infinity) about Daryl “Chill” Mitchell is that he’s had this amazingly long acting career, millions recognize him, but he’s managed to do all this despite becoming a wheelchair-user midway through his career.
This was not something he had planned for (obviously). Daryl was a tall drink of water before his motorcycle accident. Being naturally funny, he was cast in dozens of TV shows and movies in the 1990′s, including The Cosby Show, Law and Order, The John Larroquette Show, 10 Things I Hate About You, Galaxy Quest and Home Fries.
His career was on fire right before his motorcycle happened in 2001. While riding his bike, he hit loose gravel and wiped out, becoming a paraplegic. But Daryl couldn’t sit still, and he didn’t.
Why he’s fearless
Before he was even fully healed, he left the hospital to get back in the fray and that included successfully figuring out how to use the wheelchair to his advantage when it came to his career. And figure it out he did.
In 2002, only a year after his accident, he landed the role of “Eli” on Ed, which ran for two years (he played a bar owner with a spinal cord injury). After a number of smaller roles on TV series such as Eve, The Suite Life of the Zack and Cody and The Game, Daryl landed another role as a series regular on the TV series Brothers, where he played a paraplegic (who was once successful football player) along with Michael Strachan, a New York Giants football player now actor, who played his brother.
The show was canceled after 13 episodes, but Daryl squeaked out a win with the 2010 NAACP award for Outstanding Male performance in a Comedy Series. Daryl proved he wasn’t afraid to make fun of his wheelchair, which episode “A Day in a Wheelchair” (where Strachan’s character tries to use a wheelchair for an entire week after placing a bet with Daryl’s character that he couldn’t do it), proves.
After Brothers, Daryl was in in an episode of Desperate Housewives, where he played “Ron,” and was in the TV series Traffic Light. Daryl also went on to found The Daryl Mitchell Foundation after his injury; a really great organization dedicated to helping minorities with spinal cord injuries get all of the necessary resources they need to be able to live a full life after an injury.
Married and living with his wife in Sugar Hills, Georgia (“After we make it big in New York, we come to Georgia and hide out,“ he joked in an interview with Ability magazine), he’s busy raising his four children (he has three boys in high school, all who play football and a daughter who cheerleads) while he maintains his career. He’ll be in the upcoming film to Playback (a horror film starring Christian Slater).
Daryl “Chill” has become one of the best advocates for minorities with spinal cord injuries. We love what he does, what he stands for and while it’s never a good thing when someone has to join the disability community, he has been one of the greatest disabled role models in the entertainment industry.
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