Who Plays Dr. Elizabeth Wilder in New Amsterdam? Is She Deaf in Real Life?

Image Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

In the fourth season of NBC’s medical series ‘New Amsterdam,’ Dr. Helen Sharpe completes her move to London to be the medical director of her old workplace. To fill Helen’s chief of oncology position, Dr. Max Goodwin hires Dr. Elizabeth Wilder, who succeeds in winning the hearts of her colleagues and fellow department chiefs. Wilder plays a crucial role in forming the Resistance, a group that gets created by the department chiefs when Dr. Veronica Fuentes replaces Max at New Amsterdam. When Max and Helen break up, Wilder extends her support to the former. As the character becomes an integral part of the hospital, the viewers may also want to know all about the actress who plays the doctor. Well, let us share what we know!

Sandra Mae Frank Plays Dr. Elizabeth Wilder in New Amsterdam

Sandra Mae Frank, who appears as Abigail in ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,’ plays Dr. Elizabeth Wilder. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Frank’s attention turned towards acting when she auditioned for the school play ‘Crimes of the Heart’ as a high school freshman. After joining Gallaudet University as an education student, Frank eventually changed her major to theater. Her acting breakthrough happened in 2015 as she made her Broadway debut as Wendla Bergmann in the revival of the Tony-winning musical ‘Spring Awakening.’

Image Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

After Frank’s Broadway debut, she appeared in multiple TV shows including ‘Switched at Birth,’ ‘Reverse Polarity,’ and ‘Daybreak.’ She was also a part of the cast of films like ‘Season of Love,’ ‘Entangled,’ and ‘Soul to Keep.’ After her appearance in ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,’ Frank joined the fourth season of ‘New Amsterdam’ as a recurring cast member and got promoted to the main cast ahead of the fifth season. Since the actress plays a deaf character in the show, the viewers must be wondering whether the actress is also deaf. Let’s find out.

Dr. Elizabeth Wilder’s Deafness

Sandra Mae Frank is deaf in real life. The actress lost her hearing at the age of three. After attending Louisville Deaf Oral School, presently known as Heuser Hearing Institute and Learning Academy, Frank joined duPont Manual High School, where she performed in the production of ‘Crimes of the Heart.’ “The school wasn’t planning to have a deaf person playing that role,” Frank told Television Academy in sign language, voiced by an interpreter. “But I just said that I wanted to audition, and I said I know that role isn’t a deaf person, but I can do it. And I convinced them to add another role, my best friend and interpreter,” she added.

Frank’s career took a turn with her performance in ‘Spring Awakening,’ which happened at Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles. As far as Frank is concerned, she and Dr. Wilder have several parallels. “She [Dr. Wilder] is used to breaking boundaries, breaking through. In so many ways, she’s the type of character I would want to be. Her boldness, her ability to navigate through the world as a deaf person, a queer person. There are a lot of parallels between me and my character,” the actress added to Television Academy.

As Frank’s performance in ‘New Amsterdam’ is receiving immense praise, the actress is aware of the inspiration she and Dr. Wilder is providing to the deaf and hard of hearing community, who deserves opportunities in several fields. “The real-world situations in schools, hospitals outside in any environment to really apply that for themselves as well not to just say, ‘Oh, this is a cool thing that I saw on TV,’ but to actually hire people in real life,” the actress shared about the same, as per Concho Valley Homepage.

In 2022, Frank also became a part of the history of the Super Bowl as an ASL performer who performed the National Anthem during Super Bowl LVI in sign language, accompanying Mickey Guyton’s rendition of the same. She also performed “America the Beautiful” in sign language, accompanying Jhene Aiko’s rendition.

Read More: Did Freema Agyeman’s Helen Leave New Amsterdam?