Life Goes On’ for actor Chris Burke

Chris Burke, a.k.a. Corky Thatcher from “Life Goes On,” along with friends Joe and John DeMasi, travel across the United States singing and promoting Down Syndrome awareness. Burke spoke Wednesday night in 101 Olscamp.

What helped you to see past your disability?

Chris: Well actually, I don’t really think about that. Having Down Syndrome doesn’t bother me at all, but I am glad I was born with it. It’s not a disease; it’s a disability I grew up with.

Why are you glad you were born with down syndrome? Chris: Why? Because I focus on my abilities and not my disabilities.

What made you love acting?

Chris: It’s called passion, and I really love being part of the business. All I cared about was to be a part of the business and expecting people with disabilities to get more work.

In your biography, it said your parents were less than enthusiastic about an acting career. How did you change their minds?

Chris: My mommy and dad were interactive and doing different things with me, and always doing what I wanted to do. They always had their dreams and their goals. I always felt the same way too. To me, we all kind of felt it was wonderful to have these kind of things in life, by having achievements. Having these goals and dreams is very important to all of us.

Can you tell me about your first big break?

Chris: My first big break was actually in a school play called “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Doing the pilot for Life Goes On was very important to me. I didn’t really expect a lot, but I was really quite nervous. But I really learned a lot, and enjoyed myself very much. It was real great. I got a chance to get to learn the business and also get to learn other things in real life and life in general, about what was going to happen.

What is the hardest thing you have ever dealt with?

Chris: I’ve dealt with very difficult directors in the business. They could be mean. I am not trying to address this to other directors, that I’m working with. It’s just that there is a history with people with disabilities, and some, that’s all they see is the disability. They have to see the ability in them; they have to give them a chance to be accepted to be a part of this business.

But overall, do you feel you have been accepted in show business?

Chris: Yes. It gave birth to me, and I am very happy to be a part of it. Other than show business, what do you love to do most?

Chris: I like to get involved and help other people. There is a lot to do. I also like to do music with Joe and John. I also like to support the National Down Syndrome Society. Try to express awareness for people with Down Syndrome to be accepted and who go through inclusion which is very important, because it’s true.