While watching Carnivale tonight, my wife was sitting there thinking, “that lady looks like she got some bad plastic surgery.” And I’m thinking, “she looks vaguely familiar, but not as an actress I know.” Then she stuck out her hands and we saw the fused fingers. “That’s Bree Walker,” Billie exclaimed.
Walker was a TV anchorwoman in San Diego, which is how we recognized her. She’s also worked in L.A. and New York.
Long an advocate for people with disabilities, it was Walker herself who came up with the idea for the role. After seeing the early episodes of “Carnivale,” she called a friend, Tracy Torme, who is a consulting producer, to protest that the sideshow didn’t have anyone with ectrodactyly.
“Sabina is based on a character I knew existed in the ’20s and ’30s carnival sideshows,” says Walker. “There was always someone with ectrodactyly. Generally they were called the ‘lobster girl’ or the ‘lobster boy. ‘
“If I had lived during that era, that would have been the best job I could have ever landed,” says Walker. “Most people (with ectrodactyly) were hidden away.”
And we learn from Bell that Walker is planning a blog, but I haven’t found it.
As for Walker’s acting … it’s one thing to make fun of her big lips, but you’ve got to give it to her: The lady can act. She does a hell of the job in her first episode and her character will be a fine addition to the series. (More on Bree and ectrodactyly.)