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NBCUniversal Diversity Scene Showcase Features Actress and Paralympic Champion Katy Sullivan

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

Katy Sullivan is a gifted actress, a paralympic athlete and an inspirational story for everyone. You may recognize her as the feisty redhead on "My Name Is Earl" or maybe you have heard her sing the National Anthem ... but she is something special on those 'sexy, titanium Terminator legs' as she holds Paralympic World Records in the 100M and 200M Races.  Look for her in the 4th Annual NBCUniversal Diversity Scene Showcase on June 9, 2011 at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, CA.

"My motto is and always will be: If you believe in what you are doing and you want to do it, go for it, and don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it."  - Katy Sullivan

HOLLYWOOD, June 7, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- There are plenty of things you are not supposed to do when you have no legs.  Katy Sullivan never got that memo!  She is an accomplished actress, a top 5 internationally-ranked paralympic athlete, a powerful motivational speaker and a philanthropist.  This Thursday, June 9, 2011, Sullivan is one of a select group of professionals showcased by NBCUniversal to perform in the 4th Annual Diversity Scene Showcase.  The Showcase will feature original material by talented writers, actors and up-and-coming directors under the guidance of director Felicia D. Henderson (Co-producer of Moesha and Sister, Sister , and developer of the TV series Soul Food for television).

"I was born without legs and have worn prosthetic legs all of my life.  I was raised in Alabama and spent my early years trying to be just like my siblings, flipping around in gymnastics and practicing three times a week with the local swim team.  Sports became frustrating because it was hard for me to keep up with the other kids so I turned all of my energy into becoming an actor," said Sullivan.  "My performing career has taken me all over the country. I have worked on stage in Chicago, in movies in New York, on different television series in Los Angeles, and even had the opportunity to sing at the 1996 Olympic opening ceremonies in Atlanta."

NBCUniversal promotes diversity with non-traditional casting choices which benefits the entertainment industry, both on and off camera.

"We are investing in diverse talent that can be utilized for future casting opportunities, which benefits the entire entertainment industry," said Kendra Carter, Director, NBCUniversal Talent Diversity Initiatives in a recent interview.

NBC's series My Name Is Earl featured an episode in Season 3 called 'Killerball' which featured Katy Sullivan as Tiffany Hansen.  Killerball is a game involving bringing a ball to a goal while being attacked by other people in wheelchairs. Sullivan's feisty performance is memorable.

"When I was a child I saw a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at a local theatre in Alabama. One of the girls in the play attended my school, and before the play was over I decided that I was going to be an actor.  I spent the next ten years doing anything in the theatre from building sets to stage management – just to be involved in the process.  I was cast in numerous plays and even in a singing group that performed at the opening ceremonies at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia," said Sullivan, disputing the myth of becoming an overnight success. 

"I decided to get my degree in theatre and I went to a fantastic conservatory in the Midwest where I blossomed as an actress.  My favorite time at school was when I was cast in the starring role in Hedda Gabbler."

Upon graduation, Katy Sullivan was given a job at the prestigious Goodman Theatre in Chicago.  She worked in theatres throughout Chicago before deciding to relocate to Los Angeles.

"Working in television, movies and independent films in Los Angeles keeps me very busy," continued Sullivan.  "Recently, I appeared on the television series "My Name Is Earl" on NBC, and starred in an independent film, which is now on the film festival circuit."

When Katy Sullivan was young, her parents were very worried about her ability to support herself when she told them she was going to be an actor; however, she set my mind to it and became successful at what she love doing.

Katy Sullivan is also an athlete and a fierce competitor in the Paralympic 100M and 200M races.

When Sullivan moved to Los Angeles in 2004, it brought her not only tremendous opportunity with acting but it also brought Sullivan the opportunity to meet Will Yule at Hanger Prosthetics.  Katy Sullivan was gifted a pair of running legs from Hanger, and a new chapter in her life was created.

"Through the generous support of Hanger Prosthetics and Ossur I received custom made running legs built especially for my body. In my new carbon fiber sprinting legs I began to compete at a higher level and started to excel in the competitive world of physically challenged track and field," shared Sullivan, a world record holder in her paralympic competitions.

Since there are no other bilateral above knee women competing at this time, Katy Sullivan will have to compete against women who have one sound leg and one amputated leg above the knee. A video is here:

About NBCUniversal Talent Diversity

The NBCUniversal Talent Diversity Initiative was created to promote on-camera diversity through community involvement and development, showcasing non-traditional casting choices and creating programs to raise awareness at NBCUniversal and within the entire entertainment community. This initiative is part of NBCUniversal's ongoing commitment to diversity, both on and off camera.

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