New Amsterdam: Who is Sandra Mae Frank, aka Wilder?
Whereas New Amsterdam Fans met Elizabeth Wilder (Sandra Mae Frank) in Season 4 as she battled Fuentes and led the Resistance, Frank has since become a series regular. This means we see the oncologist a lot more in Season 5.
Wilder is a character you can’t help but instantly love. She is passionate, strong-willed and loves her job, all traits that make her the ideal person in New Amsterdam. Not to mention his friendship with Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) seems a little more than platonic these days. But as we keep tabs on their (possible) romance, we can’t help but want to know more about Frank. Below is everything we know about the actress and what exactly she has in common with her on-screen counterpart.
Sandra Mae Frank has a few things in common with Wilder.
Frank, who is also deaf like Wilder, told the Emmys that she saw herself in the doctor a lot.
“She’s used to breaking boundaries, breaking through,” the actress said. “In many ways, she’s the type of character I want to be. Her boldness, her ability to navigate the world as a deaf person, a queer person. There are a lot of parallels between me and my character.”
She also said The New York Post“What we have in common is that I went to a mainstream school with hearing students, I’m a deaf person in a hearing industry…and my parents hear and they sign and would move mountains for me, so in this episode with his brother [Adam, played by Garrett Young]where she talks about their parents… it wasn’t exactly the same experience but a bit of how my family was there for me.
Frank was almost a teacher.
Although she participated in theater in high school, Frank went to Galludet University with the intention of majoring in teaching. However, when she continued acting in her spare time, a teacher realized her talent and convinced her to major in acting. The Louisville, KY native ended up graduating with a major in both subjects.
In the years since Frank starred in Los Angeles’ Deaf West Theater revival of Spring Awakening (which eventually moved to Broadway), Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Switched at birth, and more. More recently, she even switched gears and performed the national anthem and “America the Beautiful” at the 2022 Super Bowl.
She has an interpreter on the New Amsterdam Position.
The star opened New York Post on navigating New Amsterdam together with his interpreter, Chris Matthews. (Actor Conner Marx plays Wilder’s interpreter, Ben, in the drama.)
“I would be lost without him performing, not just for me, but for the hearing actors and the crew,” she said. “My character, Dr. Wilder, reads lips, but I’m not…I have the script and Dr. Wilder also has Ben.”
Frank continued, “We have a DASL — Director of Artistic Sign Language — her name is Jackie Roth and she’s a phenomenal Deaf woman…who’s responsible for making sure the English script is translated into ASL. [American Sign Language] precisely. She works with me and gives me notes on my signature choices and works with me to support my translation.”
Eggold also opened up to BNC Insider to learn ASL and work with Frank.
“Sandra is amazing. She’s super smart, very empathetic, very kind, very funny, very sarcastic, and we’re having a great time,” he says. “Learning ASL, for me – and I’m not at all fluent – I learned a very small handful of it, it’s like learning any new language… Making a hearing and non-hearing actor communicate hearing is really interesting experience, I think, for both Sandra and I. Sandra teaches me all the time about Deaf culture…there’s really a lot to learn.
look New Amsterdam on NBC Tuesdays at 10/9c and the next day on Peacock.
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