‘Covert Affairs’ star Christopher Gorham accepts CNIB award

TORONTO – Actor Christopher Gorham was presented with an award Saturday for his portrayal of blind CIA agent Auggie Anderson on the series Covert Affairs.

Gorham received the Seeing Beyond Vision Loss Special Achievement Award from Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) chair Jane Beaumont after being praised by David Lepofsky, a disability rights advocate who helped Gorham prepare for the role.

“Chris took it upon himself to learn all he could about blindness, to interview and meet with a wide range of different blind individuals to learn about the different ways that we address blindness,” said Lepofsky, “and to learn about the skills Auggie would need to function in his role.”

He commended Gorham and the show’s writers and producers for creating a strong blind character.

“Auggie is not portrayed as helpless or hopeless — or as a superstar. He’s portrayed very realistically as a newly-blinded individual [trying] to make his way back into the workforce and to play an important role in an important organization,” said Lepofsky.
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“The plots and the way the character is evolved do not make blindness the centerpiece of Auggie Anderson. His blindness, as it is for all of us with vision loss, is merely a part of him: not irrelevant but not predominant.”

In accepting his award, Gorham singled out a number of people he met through working with the CNIB.

“It’s always been paramount to really get it right and that couldn’t happen without your help,” he said. “So thank you very much.”

Gorham, who was previously on Ugly Betty and Popular, told Global News it was “affirmational” to be honoured by the CNIB.

“For most of our audience, Auggie – while a fictional character – is the only blind person they know,” explained the 39-year-old star. “So it’s been incredibly important for me as an actor and for the show as a whole to really get the portrayal right.”

Producers of the made-in-Toronto show also received an award from the CNIB.

Covert Affairs airs on Showcase, which is owned by Shaw Media, the parent company of Global News.