Sandra Mae Frank came into New Amsterdam during the fourth season, playing a deaf doctor, Elizabeth Wilder. Is the actress really deaf?
If there is one great thing about New Amsterdam, it’s that it has always focused on being inclusive. In the fourth season, the series introduced us to Dr. Elizabeth Wilder, an oncologist who happened to be deaf.
She was upped to series regular for the fifth and final season of the series, giving us the chance to see Max learn sign language. One of the great things about Wilder’s inclusion was that there were a lot of times sign was used as the way to communicate. That is her language, after all.
Now fans want to know more about the actress. Is Sandra Mae Frank really deaf, or did she learn sign for the sake of the series?
Is Sandra Mae Frank in New Amsterdam really deaf?
Yes, Frank is really deaf. She does sign to communicate, and her parents—who are hearing—learned sign language to communicate with her.
While Wilder has Ben, played by Conner Marx, to help interpret, Frank also has an interpreter on set. Chris Matthews is the man who helps navigate behind the scenes, and Frank says that she would be lost without him. It turns out that while Wilder is meant to be lip-reading, Frank isn’t.
The series has a Director of Artistic Sign Language. Jackie Roth ensures that all the scripts are translated properly into ASL. Roth even worked with Frank with signing choices when on the set to make sure everything works for the series and is accurate.
Frank taught a lot of the actors about Deaf Culture on the set. And yes, Ryan Eggold, who played Max, learned some sign language to help communicate with Frank while they worked together. Hopefully, he keeps that up!
New Amsterdam is available to stream on Peacock.