It’s not easy to get fans, not to mention Hollywood execs, to look past the wheelchair and see the hunk and talent underneath, but Mitch Longley has made this far-fledged dream a reality. Since his breakout role in 1991 in the soap opera Another World, prefaced by a stint as a model and muse for Ralph Lauren (appearing in several print ads in the early 1990’s), Mitch has been a regular face on network television ever since. And one of the few wheelers to make this happen (this guy really needs a website).
Read on to take in the awesomeness that is Mitch Longley. A small town boy from Connecticut who knew acting was his destiny long before he was injured, Mitch may no longer have his original dark-brown long brown hair (now replaced with a dapper short salt & pepper do), but this is man who loves his craft and will likely never ever quit doing it.
Why he’s fearless
Mitch didn’t set out to be an actor though after his injury (he broke his back in a car accident his senior year of high school). He graduated from Northwestern College with a degree in Speech Communications instead, and was eying doing professional speaking on disability related issues. But his good looks brought him back into the industry. He was discovered by Ralph Lauren through a photographer friend, began modeling, and was asked by a director of Another World to be on the show (after seeing his photos. Flattering!).
On Another World, Mitch played a young attorney by the name of Byron Pierce (watch a clip). He was a hit among fans (as the fan videos prove) for his good looks and his strong personality. After starring on the show for two years, he did what any young person with newfound spending cash would do – he traveled the world.
After his travels, he got back into acting and was cast on General Hospital as Dr. Matthew Harmon. And his role as Dr. Harmon got even more play in the spin-off Port Charles, and producers didn’t hold back when it came to putting him in all kinds of scenarios.
Have him perform surgery? No prob! Show him in a veritable love scene, pillow talk and all? No problem! Of course, the show had some of the more annoying story lines like, “Dr. Harmon walks again,” but that’s to be expected. After Port Charles was canceled in 2000, Mitch had reoccurring roles on Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia. And one of my favorite roles of his – when he played a quad rugby coach on an episode of Weeds.
But perhaps one of Mitch’s biggest roles was his character ‘Mitch’ on NBC’s Las Vegas, where he played a surveillance expert (sadly that show too was cancelled). He also had a role on Desperate Housewives tearing apart Eva Longoria’s character for parking in a handicapped spot in 2008.
Mitch is staying busy. He was on Law & Order in 2010, NCIS: Los Angeles in 2011 and he was in the film How to Score Your Life (a movie about a guy who doesn’t want to stop being a couch surfer) in 2012.
Mitch is also taking part in an important roundtable discussion featuring prominent people with disabilities, CinemAbility (and a soon-to-be-documentary), where they discuss the portrayal of disability in the movies has evolved. Geri Jewell and Danny Woodburn (from Seinfeld) are also taking part. He also founded the non-profit, Spirit of the Wounded Horse, an organization dedicated to helping underprivileged Native Americans with disabilities (Mitch himself is a Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Native American) and he loves photography, and is even a gallery represented photographer.
Now 47, Mitch’s good looks seem to get more polished, his roles even more interesting, and you gotta love what he’s done for our community. He’s shown a long-lasting career is possible for actors with spinal cord injuries. Really, it can be done.
Did you watch Mitch Longley in his soap opera days? What do you think of the characters he has played through the years?
Watch the videos!