ASL University | Bookstore | Catalog | Dictionary | Lessons | Resources | Syllabi | Library

Deaf People:

Tanya Zaricor

Marlee Matlin

            Marlee Beth Matlin was born August 24th 1965. She became deaf at 18 months old because of Roseola Infantum. Marlee was involved in theater at a young age. Marlee's first acting experience was when she played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz at the age of seven and she continued to act after graduating college in Pallatine Illinois where she studied criminal justice.

She played one of the secondary roles in the Tony award winning play Children of a Lesser God. The play is about a speech teacher at a school for the deaf who falls in love with a Deaf woman. Her performance was so outstanding that she was asked to play the leading role of Sarah in the 1986 film version. At twenty-one years old she was starring in her first film. She did such a great job playing Sarah in the movie that she won the Golden Globe award for best actress in a drama and the Academy Award for best actress. She was the first Deaf person to win either of those awards and she was the youngest to ever win them at that time (IMDB, 2007, paragraph 1-3).

Since 1986 she has added to her list of films and television shows that she has acted in. She has also recently authored two published books about a young Deaf girl and her life. The first book she wrote is titled Deaf Child Crossing and her second book is titled Nobody's Perfect. Deaf Child Crossing was written similar to how Marlee felt as a kid and deals with similar situations and feelings that she experienced growing up deaf and becoming Deaf (IMDB, 2007, paragraph 4 ).

Marlee has advocated for getting "Closed Captioning" on all televisions that are larger than thirteen inches. She testified at a Congressional hearing in 1995 and helped to get that law passed. All televisions now have built-in chips that provide viewers with the closed captioning option (Marlee Online, 2007, paragraph 4).

"The handicap of deafness is not in the ear; it is in the mind"
                                                                                                --Marlee Matlin



American Foundation for the Blind.  (2007) "Helen Keller Biography", [Online]. Available: (May 3, 2007).

Crouch, Barry A. &  SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Van Cleve, John V. (1989). A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America. Washington, D.C. Gallaudet University Press.

Foster, Ray. (2001). "Laurent Clerc",  [Online]. Available: (May, 3 2007).

HKSB: Biography of Helen Keller, [Online]. Available: (April 19, 2007).

IMDB. (1990-2007). "Biography of Marlee Matlin". [Online]. Available: (May 31, 2007).

Marlee Matlin "Biography & Filmography", [Online]. Available: (May 10, 2007).


Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy DONATE (Thanks!)
(You don't need a PayPal account. Just look for the credit card logos and click continue.)

Another way to help is to buy something from the ASLU "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)   CHECK IT OUT >

Bandwidth slow?  Check out "" (a free mirror of less traffic, fast access)   VISIT >