Lauren Elizabeth Potter (born May 10, 1990) is an American actress, advocate, and comedian known for her role as Becky Jackson on the FOX series Glee. Potter advocates for those with disabilities through organizations including AbilityPath, Best Buddies International, the National Down Syndrome Society the American Association of People with Disabilities, and Special Olympics.
Potter was born May 10, 1990, and grew up in Southern California's Inland Empire. At birth, she was diagnosed with Down syndrome. She did not have the ability to walk until the age of 2, but then began attending dancing and acting classes at a young age. She graduated from Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California, and was studying at Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California, as of late 2011.
At the age of 16, Potter obtained her first acting role, starring in the film, Mr. Blue Sky.
From 2009 to 2015, Potter portrayed the recurring character Becky Jackson, a cheerleader with Down syndrome, in all six seasons of the TV show Glee. Cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) takes a special interest in Becky in part because Sue's older sister, Jean, also has Down syndrome. In 2012, Potter was nominated for a SAG award in the Ensemble in a Comedy Series category for her work in Glee. She also received the SAG/AFTRA Harold Russell Award at the 2012 Media Access Awards.
In November 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Potter to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, where she would advise the White House on issues related to that population. Twenty-one members are involved in the committee along with 13 U.S. federal government staff. During periodic meetings throughout the year, the committee would discuss a variety of different issues affecting those with disabilities including items such as education and workplace integration issues.
In 2015, Potter appeared as Jenny in the short film Guest Room, which premiered at SXSW. Potter played a young woman with Down syndrome, who dealt with the difficulties of an unplanned pregnancy.
Potter was an ambassador for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. She acted as a speaker and role-model to promote inclusion and disability awareness.
Bullied as a young child, Potter has partnered with AbilityPath to put an end to bullying. Additionally, she works with Special Olympics to help promote the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. Her efforts include starring in a 2011 PSA commercial with co-star Jane Lynch. The commercial, "Not Acceptable", advocates to end the use of the R-word in everyday language.
On August 3, 2016, multiple news sites announced that Potter’s childhood-friend-turned-boyfriend Timothy Speare had proposed to her with a promise ring on July 31. Both born with Down Syndrome, their families had known each other since they were babies. However, on February 22, 2017, it was announced that their engagement had ended over the holidays.
|2007||Mr. Blue Sky||Young Andra Little|
|2015||Guest Room||Amber||Short Film; also executive producer|
|2007||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Poisoned Child||Small Part|
|2009–2015||Glee||Becky Jackson||56 episodes|
|2012||Leader of the Pack||Jenny||Unaired television pilot|
|2016||Veep||Polly||Episode: "Congressional Ball"|
|2017||Switched at Birth||Nina||Episode: "Long Live Love"|
|2017||Born This Way||Herself|
|2018||Drunk History||Ventilator Woman||Episode: "Civil Rights"|
|2019||Chicago Med||Barbara Duncan||Episode: "The Thing We Do"|
- "President Obama announces more key Administration posts" (Press release). The White House. November 4, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "Q&A: Lauren Potter". richmondmagazine.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- Park, Madison (November 14, 2011). "'Glee' star tapped to join Obama's committee". CNN. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- "Glee star, Lauren Potter, visits UIS". The Journal. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- "Glee's Lauren Potter lives her dream". www.dailyillini.com. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- ""Glee" actress Lauren Potter to present public talk - SALVEtoday". SALVEtoday. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- "'Glee' star Lauren Potter to join President's committee". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- "SXSW Schedule: Guest Room". Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- "Lauren Potter of Glee: Down Syndrome Couldn't Keep Me From Following My Dreams". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- "Jane Lynch In Striking Hit Out Against The R Word". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- "R-word | Spread the Word to End the Word". www.r-word.org. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- "Glee's Lauren Potter: I Am Still Bullied for Being Different". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08.