Judy Heumann, who helped secure legislation protecting the rights of disabled people and whose life’s story was being adapted to film, has died at age 75. She died Saturday in Washington, D.C., as confirmed by the American Assn. of People with Disabilities. No cause was given.
Heumann lost her ability to walk at age 2 after contracting polio, but fought for disabled people’s rights throughout her life via protests and legal action.
She lobbied for legislation that eventually led to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. She served as the assistant secretary of the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, beginning in 1993 in the Clinton administration, until 2001.
Her story was being adapted by Apple Original Films, which landed rights to a package based on Heumann’s best-selling memoir, Being Heumann. Siân Heder, whom Apple signed to a multi-year overall deal in the wake of winning an auction for her Sundance sensation CODA, was set to direct and wasa adapting the film, with producers David Permut and his Permut Presentations, John Beach, Kevin Cleary, and Alex Astrachan.
Heumann was also featured in the 2020 documentary film, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, which highlighted a summer camp Heumann attended that helped spark the disability rights movement. The film was nominated for an Academy Award.
No details on survivors or memorial plans was immediately available.
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