Gail Williamson is a well known public speaker and advocate for performers with disabilities. She has established herself as the “go to person” in Hollywood and elsewhere when a project includes characters with Down syndrome and other disabilities. She has assisted many television shows over the years. Some of the most notable include: TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, ER, FAMILY LAW, LAW AND ORDER: SVU and THE GUARDIAN.
Gail’s connections in the entertainment industry along with her past position as president of the Media Image Coalition – A project of the L.A. Commission on Human Relations, gives her a realistic view of what media depiction can do for diverse groups. She continues to use her expertise to advocate for more, and authentic, characterizations of individuals with disabilities and Down syndrome.
Gail and her husband Tommie have been married for 40 years and are the proud parents of two adult sons. Tim, the oldest is married to a wonderful woman and they have two children together, Blair the youngest, was born with disabilities from Down syndrome and started acting professionally at the age of 11. As an adult, Blair has some very impressive credits on his resume. Gail and Tommie also opened their home for many years as the legal guardians to 6 nieces. Today the girls are all grown and living independent lives. Most are married and raising children of their own.
Gail’s work, as well as her personal life, has been recognized by several organizations. With 5 children in her home at the time, she was recognized as the 1999 California State and National Mother of the Year by American Mother’s, Inc. the national organization that sponsors Mother’s Day. The Hollywood based organization Changing Images in America, recognized Gail with their 1999 Chia Awards Media Image Award for her “tireless efforts in pursuing and promoting increased employment opportunities and more balances images of people with disabilities in the Entertainment Industry.” Goodwill Industries in Buena Park, CA also named Gail as one of their “Women of Hope” and honored her with the William Knott Service Award in 2000. In 2004 the acting unions, Actor’s Equity (AEA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Actors Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) recognized Gail with a diversity award at their annual event. In July 2005 she was honored by the National Down Syndrome Congress at their annual convention for her work in the media industry.
Gail continues to travel for speaking engagements addressing issues like: “The Importance of Images of People with Disabilities in the Media,” “Media Advocacy,” “The Business of Show Business,” “Images of Down Syndrome in the Media,” and her and Tommie’s personal story of raising two sons, one with a disability, and opening their home to their six nieces.