Humanitarian of the Week: Maggie Wheeler

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


With a nasal squawk of “Oh. My. God,” Maggie Wheeler came to the attention of 1990’s television audiences as “Janice” on the long-running sitcom Friends. Wheeler had actually auditioned for the main role of Monica Gellar. While the producers opted to go with Courtney Cox for “Monica,” they were enchanted by Miss Wheeler and created the role of Janice for her.

Maggie Wheeler
Fans of Everybody Loves Raymond may also know Wheeler as “Linda,” a longtime friend of Ray and Debra Barone. Wheeler was actually the producers’ original choice for the role of Debra, but CBS preferred Patricia Heaton as Raymond’s longsuffering wife. Still a favorite of the producers, Wheeler was, instead, cast as Linda.

Miss Wheeler has also delighted audiences with appearances on Seinfeld, E.R., Will & Grace, How I Met Your Mother and a host of other television shows and films. As beloved as she is by American television viewers, few know of her other great passion—singing.

Along with Emile Hassan Dyer, Maggie Wheeler founded the Golden Bridge Community Choir—a group dedicated to building communities and uniting people of different cultures through the art and beauty of song. Wheeler and Dyer travel to speak to groups of students and adults of all different walks of life to discuss and share the beauty of world music as well as spread a message of human rights and dignity. To learn more about The Golden Bridge Community Choir and the work of Maggie Wheeler, visit Miss Wheeler’s official Web site.

For her voice and her strength of thought and spirit, Maggie Wheeler is our “Humanitarian of the Week.”


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