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Marlee Matlin Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trivia (31)  | Personal Quotes (5)  | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Morton Grove, Illinois, USA
Birth NameMarlee Beth Matlin
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Marlee Beth Matlin was born on August 24, 1965 in Morton Grove, Illinois, to Libby (Hammer) and Donald Matlin, an automobile dealer. She has two older brothers. Her family is of Russian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent.

Marlee lost much of her hearing at the age of eighteen months. That did not stop her from acting in a children's theater company at age seven; 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 through 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 movie debut, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. While shooting her next movie Walker (1987), in Nicaragua, large-hearted Marlee took time to visit both hearing and hearing-impaired children. She continued this tradition of visiting local children through her travels to Germany, England, Italy, Australia, Mexico, Canada, etc.

Her interest in the criminal justice field played a role in her on screen career; she portrayed an assistant D.A. on the television series Reasonable Doubts (1991), while off screen she married police officer Kevin Grandalski on August 29, 1993. The couple has four children: Sarah (born 1996), Brandon (born 2000), Tyler (born 2002), and Isabelle (born 2003). In 1994, Marlee was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance as Laurie Bey on the television series Picket Fences (1992). 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 television 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 serves as the national spokeswoman for the largest provider of television 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).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: kdhaisch@aol.com

Family (4)

Spouse Kevin Grandalski (29 August 1993 - present)  (4 children)
Children Grandalski, Sara Rose
Grandalski, Brandon Joseph
Grandalski, Tyler Daniel
Grandalski, Isabelle Jane
Parents Matlin, Libby
Matlin, Donald
Relatives Matlin, Marc (sibling)
Matlin, Eric (sibling)

Trivia (31)

Used to reside with Academy Award winner William Hurt.
Initially she believed she was rendered deaf in infancy by a bout of roseola infantum, but later found out that roseola doesn't cause deafness. In the 1990s a doctor told her mother that he believed 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.
Her husband, Kevin Grandalski, is a police officer.
Was married in Henry Winkler's (the Fonz's) backyard.
Listed as one of 12 "Promising New Actors of 1986" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 38.
Attended and graduated from John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL.
She presented the Vardon family with $50,000 from a charity for the Vardons' 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 receive a Best Acting Oscar for a debut performance.
Youngest person to receive the Oscar in the Best Actress Category at the age of 21 and 218 days old. Until 2022 she was the only deaf actor to receive an Academy Award when her CODA costar Troy Kotsur won for Best Supporting Actor at the 94th Academy Awards.
Her daughter Sarah 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.
As of 2009 was residing in Los Angeles, CA, with her husband, Kevin Grandalski, and their four children.
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.
At the age of 7, she played Dorothy Gale in a production of "The Wizard of Oz" at ICODA (International Center on Deafness and the Arts).
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.
Received a special award from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) for performers with disabilities.
Gave birth to her first child at age 30: a daughter, Sara Rose Grandalski, on 1/19/96. The child's father is her husband, Kevin Grandalski.
Gave birth to her second child at age 35: a son, Brandon Joseph Grandalski, on 9/12//2000. The child's father is her husband, Kevin Grandalski.
Gave birth to her third child at age 36: a son, Tyler Daniel Grandalski, on 7/18/02. The child's father is her husband, Kevin Grandalski.
Gave birth to her fourth child at age 38: a daughter, Isabelle Jane Grandalski, on 12/26/03. The child's father is her husband, Kevin Grandalski.
Was the 94th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won a Best Actress Oscar for Children of a Lesser God (1986) at The 59th Annual Academy Awards (1987) on 3/30/87.
Awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6667 Hollywood Blvd. on 5/6/09.
Her father was of Russian Jewish descent. Her maternal grandparents were Polish Jewish immigrants.
Suffered a miscarriage in December 1998.
Is one of four actresses to win the Best Actress Oscar for her film debut (Children of a Lesser God (1986)). The others are Shirley Booth (for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)), Julie Andrews (for Mary Poppins (1964)), and Barbra Streisand (for Funny Girl (1968)).
Delivered her children Sara, Tyler and Isabella via Caesarean section and her son Brandon via forceps.
Her acting mentor is Piper Laurie, whom she credits as her favorite mentor/best friend, took Marlee under her wing at age 21.
As of 2022, she has been in two films that were Oscar-nominated for Best Picture: Children of a Lesser God (1986) and CODA (2021), the latter won the category.

Personal Quotes (5)

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.
I have a lot of great memories of high school and some horrible ones. I got in trouble for smoking pot, and I got in trouble for ditching class for smoking pot and smoking more pot. I had a good time in high school, and it's all great memories... All great memories, just all a long time ago... By the way I want to make it clear I have been sober for 28 years. Just had to put that out there. (in a Playbill interview with the cast of the 2015 production of the teen-centered musical "Spring Awakening"; all of their cast members were asked for their memories of high school.)

Salary (1)

Children of a Lesser God (1986) $50,000 .00

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