Birth Name: Marlee Beth Matlin
Age: 47, born 24 August 1965
Country of origin: United States
Height: 5' 4"
Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Relationship Status: Married
Partner: Kevin Grandalski
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About: Marlee Beth Matlin was born to Don and Libby Matlin; she was their third child. Marlee lost much of her hearing at the age of 18 months. That didn't stop her, though, from acting in a children's theatre company at age 7; she was Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." Her deafness never held her back. As an adult she said it so eloquently: "I have always resisted putting limitations on myself, both professionally and personally." Marlee studied Criminal Justice at Harper College in Pa Marlee Beth Matlin was born to Don and Libby Matlin; she was their third child. Marlee lost much of her hearing at the age of 18 months. That didn't stop her, though, from acting in a children's theatre company at age 7; she was Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." Her deafness never held her back. As an adult she said it so eloquently: "I have always resisted putting limitations on myself, both professionally and personally." Marlee studied Criminal Justice at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, and maintained her passion for acting after graduating. While performing on stage throughout Chicago and the Midwest, Marlee attracted notice for her performance in a production of the Tony award-winning play "Children of a Lesser God" and was cast in the movie version, Children of a Lesser God (1986). Although this was her film debut, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. While shooting her next movie. Walker (1987) in Nicaragua, big-hearted Marlee took time to visit both hearing and hearing-impaired children. She continued this tradition of visiting local children throughout her travels to Germany, England, Italy, Australia, Mexico, Canada, etc. Her interest in the criminal justice field played a part in her on screen career; she portrayed an Assistant D.A. in the TV series "Reasonable Doubts" (1991), while off screen she married police officer Kevin Grandalski on August 29, 1993. Marlee was nominated for an Emmy award in 1994 for her performance as Laurie Bey in the "Picket Fences" (1992) episode "Dancing Bandit." Marlee is also a spokeswoman for the National Captioning Institute. In 1995 she testified at a Congressional hearing, and helped get a law passed that requires all TV sets 13 inches or larger to be manufactured with built-in chips to provide "Closed Captioning" on their screens; this was a godsend for deaf viewers.
Marlee is currently serving as the national spokeswoman for the largest provider of TV Closed Captioning, and has spoken on behalf of "CC" in countries such as Australia, England, France and Italy. She also serves on the boards of a number of charitable organizations, including Very Special Arts, the Starlight Foundation, and other charities that primarily benefit children. As someone who loves children so much, it is only fitting that she has four of her own. Professionally, Marlee has even tried producing, being the Executive Producer for Where the Truth Lies (1999) (TV).
Used to live with William Hurt.
Initially, she believed that she was rendered deaf in infancy by a bout of Roseola Infantum but later found out that she roseola doesn't cause deafness. In the 1990's, a doctor told her mother that he believed that Matlin had a genetically malformed cochlea, which meant that she could likely hear when she was born but that her hearing receded over the first couple of years of her life.
Husband is a police officer.
Was married in Henry Winkler's (the Fonz's) backyard.
Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1986" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 38.
Sons; Brandon Joseph Grandalski, born September 12, 2000 and Tyler Daniel, born July 18, 2002. Daughters; Sara Rose, born January 19, 1996 and Isabelle Jane, born December 26, 2003. All four of Marlee's children were born in Los Angeles. None of them are deaf.
Graduated from John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL.
She presented the Vardon family with $50,000 from a charity for the Vardon's son to go to the college of his choice. This was on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (2003). The Vardon family is made up of two deaf parents, a hearing older son (Stefan) and a younger son who is both blind and autistic.
One of a chosen few to win a Best Acting Oscar for a debut performance.
Youngest Winner to win the Oscar in the Best Actress Category at the age of 21 and 218 days old. She is also the only deaf actor to win an Academy Award.
Her daughter Sara was born on the same day an episode of "Picket Fences" (1992) aired, in which her character, Laurie Bey, also gave birth.
As a child, she attended a synagogue for the deaf.
She is profoundly deaf. Her right ear has complete loss, while her left ear has around 80% loss. She is the only member of her family who is deaf.
Lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Kevin, and their four children .
Close friends with Jennifer Beals.
Named godmother of Holland-America Line cruise ship the MS Noordam.
Credits ex-boyfriend William Hurt with helping her seek help for her drug abuse.
Found out about her Oscar nomination for Children of a Lesser God (1986) from her interpreter Jack Jason when she was in rehab in the Betty Ford Clinic for 26 days seeking help because of her drug problems. She didn't want to field questions from the press about her nomination, since she didn't want them to know that she was in recovery, so she responded to Jack, "I'll Scream Later." That phrase became the title of her 2009 memoir.
Revealed in her biography "I'll Scream Later" that her relationship with William Hurt was physically abusive on both sides and that their fights were alcohol and drug-fueled.
"The Earth does not belong to us: we belong to the Earth."
"Silence is the last thing the world will ever hear from me."
The handicap of deafness is not in the ear; it is in the mind.
In response to a new 2006 PBS censorship policy requiring additional visual pixelization for the deaf of recognizable lip movements of sworn words: "All I can say is I've been reading the lips of bleeped-out words, angry baseball players, and stoned-out rock stars on awards shows for years and it's been hilarious. Everyone is always asking me what the bleeped-out parts are saying. Just say no to pixelization! Hehe." ... (more) (less)