updated 01/28/2011 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/28/2011 AT 5:30 PM ET
She was the endearing and plucky cousin Geri on the 1980s coming-of-age sitcom The Facts of Life, showing people with disabilities in an empowering light.
But actress and comedian Geri Jewell, who has cerebral palsy, reveals in a new memoir how much she struggled growing up with a disability and how she wrestled with her sexuality, and reveals she is a lesbian.
In I’m Walking As Straight As I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond, Jewell writes about the winding path she took from her birth in Buffalo, N.Y., to her career as a stand-up comic to her role as the first person with a disability to have a recurring role on TV.
According to a press release from the book’s publisher, Jewell’s memoir will also detail her tax problems, marriage troubles, drug addition and an accident that nearly claimed her life before ultimately finding continued career success with a role in HBO’s hit series Deadwood.