Marlee Matlin won the Oscar award for the best actress at the age of 21, for her drama film “Children of a Lesser God”. Marlee Matlin was born in 1965; she was a normal perfect child, when she was 18 months old she got high fever and illness, due to that she becomes deaf. With that, she is a very loyal and active member of the Deaf community and the National Association of the Deaf.
Matlin does not remember her life when she was able to listen. From childhood she never took deafness as a disability nor do her family made her feel like that being deaf is a barrier between her and her dream goals (Ellcessor, 2018). The behavior of the family can be easily analyzed with her career when she worked in the movie “The wizard of oz” at the age of 7; from there she started to gain fame and popularity. She was the youngest member of her family and the only person in the whole family who was deaf. She started her education by learning Hebrew phonetically. Most of the deaf people are also unable to speak but Matlin was not one of them. Her parents send her to different schools where she could learn to speak perfectly. Another thing which her parents made her do was to make her socially active, instead of being at home all the time. They encouraged her to go out, make friends and interact with people.
Her career started at the age of 7. She acted as the main role of Dorothy in the International Center for Deafness and the Arts (ICODA). Since childhood her mind and skills, all used to reflect the personality of an actor. She continued her higher education from Harper College in the field of Criminal Justice (Marleematlin, n.d). While her education she never stopped working in ICODA as the acting was her passion. Once while acting in a play Henry Winkler who is a famous actor, saw Matlin’s acting. Then and there he targeted her and offered her a film debut which was “Children of a Lesser God” That film made her win an award for the best actress. Till now there isn’t any deaf person in any category who won the Oscar award, apart from Matlin (Lerner, 2016).
In this movie, she acted as a protagonist, who was very reluctant to speak and was deaf, but she falls for a perfect man. There were no words for her to speak all she had to do throughout the conversation was to speak with her actions, her gestures, her eyes, and her expressions. This talented acting leads her to win the Oscar award (Biography, 2019).
Apart from her acting, she was always famous for her books and her write-ups. Most of the time people used to hire her to act on her write up or book. Her first book was published in 2002 which was titled as the “Deaf Child”, the story can be analyzed as her biography as it included her childhood. As this book becomes successful, she then wrote a sequel named “Nobody’s perfect” in 2006 which got so much fame that it was then produced on the stage, performed by John F. Kennedy. After the performance, her write-ups gained more attention and acknowledgment.
Matlin in her whole life kept working for the deaf people and the deaf community. As she was the celebrity ambassador for the ACLU, so she always used to become the voice of the people. She brings out and debated over the point that how there is no specific law enforcement for the deaf people and the deaf people are unable to communicate when they are being stopped by the police, as the police don’t understand them. Apart from that, she was also an active member of charitable organizations.
In 2009, she wrote a book titled “I’ll scream later” which was also the autobiography. In that book, she explained all the ill-treatments she had faced, and the most eye-catching was the part where she mentioned about the physical abuse she has faced for two years by the co-star of the Children of a lesser god.
Ellcessor, E., 2018. “One tweet to make so much noise”: Connected celebrity activism in the case of Marlee Matlin. New Media & Society, 20(1), pp.255-271.
Marleematlin, n.d, available at : https://www.marleematlin.net/about/
Biography, 2019, Marlee matlin Biography, available at : https://www.biography.com/actor/marlee-matlin
Lerner, M. N., & Sayers, E. E. (2016). Film: Deaf Characters.