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Marlee Matlin - Wikipedia Article

Deaf Biography: The American's Deaf Woman, Marlee Matlin.

Marlee Beth Matlin is an American actress. She is the only Deaf performer to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, which she won for Children of a Lesser God. Her work in film and television has resulted in a Golden Globe award, with two additional nominations, and four Emmy nominations. Deaf since she was 18 months old, she is also a prominent member of the National Association of the Deaf.

Early life - Matlin was born in Morton Grove, Illinois, to Libby (née Hammer) and Donald Matlin, an automobile dealer. She has two older brothers, Eric and Marc. She lost all hearing in her right ear and 80% of the hearing in her left ear at the age of 18 months. In her autobiography, I'll Scream Later, she suggests that her hearing loss may have been due to a genetically malformed cochlea. She also indicated that she is the only member of her family who is deaf. She is of Russian Jewish descent, and was able to have her Bat Mitzvah by learning how to read Hebrew phonetically; she was later interviewed for the book Mazel Tov: Celebrities' Bar and Bat Mitzvah Memories. Matlin graduated from John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights and attended Harper College.

In chapter 11 of her autobiography I'll Scream Later, she speaks of her two instances of child molestation -- by her babysitter at the age of 11, and by her teacher in high school.

Career - Matlin made her stage debut at the age of seven, as Dorothy in a children's theatre (ICODA) version of The Wizard of Oz, and continued to appear with the ICODA children's theatre group throughout her childhood. Her discovery by Henry Winkler during one of her ICODA theater performances ultimately led to her film debut in Children of a Lesser God (1986). That film brought her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actress.

In 1989, she played a deaf widow in Bridge to Silence. Matlin was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her work as the lead female role in the television series Reasonable Doubts (1991--1993) and was nominated for an Emmy Award for a guest appearance in Picket Fences. She became a regular on the series during its final season. She portrayed Carrie Buck in the television drama Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story (1994) based on the United States Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell 274 U.S. 200 (1927). In the movie, Matlin played a hearing woman for the first time and earned a CableACE Nomination as Best Actress.

Matlin appeared during the 20th season of the TV series, Sesame Street, with Billy Joel (She did a signing version of "Just the Way You Are", and kissed Oscar the Grouch). Matlin later had recurring roles in The West Wing, and Blue's Clues. Other television appearances include Seinfeld ("The Lip Reader"), The Outer Limits ("The Message"), ER, Desperate Housewives, CSI: NY and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She was nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards for her guest appearances in Seinfeld, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The Practice.

In 2002, Matlin published her first novel, Deaf Child Crossing, which was loosely based on her own childhood. She wrote and published a sequel to Deaf Child Crossing, titled Nobody's Perfect, which was produced on stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in partnership with VSA arts in October 2007. In 2004, she starred in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? as Amanda. She also hosted the 3rd annual Festival for Cinema of the Deaf in Chicago, October 15--18, 2004.

In 2006, she played a deaf parent in Desperate Housewives. She also had a recurring role as Joy Turner's (who made many jokes of Marlee's deafness at her expense) public defender in My Name Is Earl and played the mother of one of the victims in an episode of CSI: NY. That same year, Matlin was cast in season 4 of The L Word as Jodi Lerner, a gay deaf sculptor. She appeared in season 4 (2007), season 5 (2008) and season 6 (2009) as the girlfriend of one of the show's protagonists, Bette Porter, On February 4, 2007, Matlin performed the "Star Spangled Banner" in American Sign Language at Super Bowl XLI in Miami, Florida. In January 2008, she appeared on Nip/Tuck as a television executive.
On February 18, 2008, it was announced that Matlin would participate as a competitor in the sixth season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Her dance partner was newcomer Fabian Sanchez. Matlin and Sanchez were the sixth couple eliminated from the competition. Read original article available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlee_Matlin
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