Marlee Matlin Biography News Profile Hot Relationships Pictures Wallpaper Online Video.

Born: August 24, 1965

A bout of roseola infantum rendered actress Marlee Matlin almost completely deaf at the age of 18 months. Never permitting her affliction to impede her ambitions, Matlin launched her stage career at age 8, playing Dorothy in the Des Plaines Childrens Theatre of the Deaf production of The Wizard Oz. She put her theatrical aspirations on the back burner while studying criminal justice at William Rainey Harper college, but by her early 20s was back on stage, playing a minor role in the original Chicago Immediate Theatre Production of Children of a Lesser God sex nude in music show.

By the time this community-theatre effort went "professional" and was transplanted to New York, Matlin had been promoted to the leading role of Sara. She repeated this role in the 1988 film version of Children of a Lesser God, and in so doing became the first deaf actress to win the Academy Award. During this same period, Matlin was involved in a well-publicized romance with her Lesser_God co-star William_Hurt sex nude.

In her talk-show appearance, Matlin is invariably accompanied by an interpreter, who relays the meaning of her sign language to the studio audience; from the 1989 TV movie Bridge of Silence onward, however, the actress has endeavored to speak as often as possible. From 1991 through 1993, Marleen Matlin starred as assistant district attorney Tess Kaufman on the weekly TV series Reasonable Doubt and in 1995 and '96 she played Mayor Laurie Bey on the Emmy Award-winning Picket_Fences.

Actress, author. Born Marlee Beth Matlin on August 24, 1965, in Morton Grove, Illinois. Her father operated a used-car dealership, and her mother sold jewelry. The youngest of three children, Matlin was only 18 months old when an illness permanently removed all hearing in her right ear, and 80 percent of the hearing in her left ear, making her legally deaf.

Matlin's hard-working parents chose to educate Marlee in their community rather than sending her to a special school. Matlin began learning to use sign language around the age of 5, but her parents struggled.
 
"[My parents] learned some sign language to communicate with me, but they raised me with a great deal of love and respect, and it wasn't easy for them because of who I was—being a girl, being very stubborn, being very strong willed, being very outspoken, and very independent," Matline explained to Exceptional Parent magazine.

As a child, Matlin discovered acting through a program at the Center on Deafness that brought deaf and hearing kids together. She landed her first leading role as Dorothy in a production of The Wizard of Oz with a children's theater company in Chicago. Matlin continued to pursue her acting into adulthood, while also earning a degree in law enforcement at Harper College.

Matlin worked in the Chicago theater scene for several years before getting her big break as the lead in a production of Children of a Lesser God in Chicago. When the play was adapted for the big screen, Matlin received a chance to reprise her stage role. She starred as Sarah, a young deaf woman, who becomes involved with a speech teacher (played by William Hurt) at a school for the deaf. She rejects learning to lip-read and to talk, choosing communicate through sign language alone. As critic Roger Ebert said, "She holds her own against the powerhouse she's acting with, carrying scenes with a passion."

For her work on the film, Matlin won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1986. It was a remarkable accomplishment for a 20-year-old actress in her first film role—a feat that may also have been difficult for her to savor at the time. Matlin had been at the Betty Ford Center when she learned of her Academy Award nomination, receiving treatment for a substance abuse problem. To make matters worse, she and William Hurt had been romantically involved during the making of Children of a Lesser God, which proved to be a destructive relationship. "We brought out each other's worst instincts," she later told People magazine.

For her next film, 1987's Walker, Matlin played the deaf wife of a mercenary (played by Ed Harris) in Nicaragua during 1800s. It proved to be a flop with movie-goers and critics alike. Matlin then created a stir among the deaf community with her appearance at the 1987 Academy Awards ceremony, when she chose to speak instead of sign while presenting an award. Some thought she was sending the wrong kind of message with her action, indicating that speech was more important than signing for the deaf.

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