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Michael Dougherty

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2019

Michael Dougherty smiling headshot

Michael Dougherty

The son of a former Catholic priest and nun, Michael Dougherty is a Jesuit-trained Irish New Yawkuh, who grew up at a table where religion and movies were the soups du jour. He has had brain surgery ten times, twice involving a power drill to the skull, which may explain his ambivalence toward the medical profession, but also his love of horror movies and black comedy. A world traveller, Michael has cage-dived with Great White sharks, ridden an elephant through a rubber tree forest, kissed the grave of Oscar Wilde, and climbed two mountains on two separate continents – on crutches. His love of art, particularly Frida Kahlo’s, has led him from drawing to modeling, giving way to a greater empathy of how we see ourselves and how others see us. He’s learned everything about love from Charlie Brown’s pining for the Little Red-Haired Girl, everything about courage from his Uncle Peter, the only FDNY chief ever killed in the line of duty, and everything else from Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” which confirms Michael’s greatest belief, “If we’re all going over the edge, and we are, shouldn’t we hold hands on the way down?”


After an extensive search and interview process, 22 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s Summer 2019 Lab for Entertainment Professionals. This 5-week, nine-session innovative summer lab series for people interested in – and with experience in – development, production and post-production, including careers as writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, animators and other production roles, takes place June 18 – July 18, 2019. Participants include diverse people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health and other disabilities. Learn more:

This program, which continues building the talent pipeline of young professionals with disabilities looking to work behind the scenes, is made possible with support by: Comcast NBCUniversalJonathan Murray and The Walt Disney Company.

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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