Actress Hot Pictures Biography
Matlin was born in Morton Grove, Illinois, to Libby (née Hammer) and Donald Matlin, an automobile dealer. She has two older brothers, Eric and Marc. She lost all hearing in her right ear and 80% of the hearing in her left ear at the age of 18 months. In her autobiography, I'll Scream Later, she suggests that her hearing loss may have been due to a genetically malformed cochlea. She also indicated that she is the only member of her family who is deaf. She is of Russian Jewish descent, and was able to have her Bat Mitzvah by learning how to read Hebrew phonetically; she was later interviewed for the book Mazel Tov: Celebrities' Bar and Bat Mitzvah Memories. Matlin graduated from John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights and attended Harper College.
In chapter 11 of her autobiography I'll Scream Later, she speaks of her two instances of child molestation – by her babysitter at the age of 11, and by her teacher in high school.
Matlin made her stage debut at the age of seven, as Dorothy in a children's theatre (ICODA) version of The Wizard of Oz, and continued to appear with the ICODA children's theatre group throughout her childhood. Her discovery by Henry Winkler during one of her ICODA theater performances ultimately led to her film debut in Children of a Lesser God (1986). That film brought her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actress.
In 1989, she played a deaf widow in Bridge to Silence. Matlin was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her work as the lead female role in the television series Reasonable Doubts (1991–1993) and was nominated for an Emmy Award for a guest appearance in Picket Fences. She became a regular on the series during its final season. She portrayed Carrie Buck in the television drama Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story (1994) based on the United States Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell 274 U.S. 200 (1927). In the movie, Matlin played a hearing woman for the first time and earned a CableACE Nomination as Best Actress.
Matlin appeared during the 20th season of the TV series, Sesame Street, with Billy Joel (She did a signing version of "Just the Way You Are", and kissed Oscar the Grouch). Matlin later had recurring roles in The West Wing, and Blue's Clues. Other television appearances include Seinfeld ("The Lip Reader"), The Outer Limits ("The Message"), ER, Desperate Housewives, CSI: NY and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She was nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards for her guest appearances in Seinfeld, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The Practice.
In 2002, Matlin published her first novel, Deaf Child Crossing, which was loosely based on her own childhood. She wrote and published a sequel to Deaf Child Crossing, titled Nobody's Perfect, which was produced on stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in partnership with VSA arts in October 2007. In 2004, she starred in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? as Amanda. She also hosted the 3rd annual Festival for Cinema of the Deaf in Chicago, October 15–18, 2004.
Matlin at the 2007 Texas Book Festival promoting one of her children's books
In 2006, she played a deaf parent in Desperate Housewives. She also had a recurring role as Joy Turner's (who made many jokes of Marlee's deafness at her expense) public defender in My Name Is Earl and played the mother of one of the victims in an episode of CSI: NY. That same year, Matlin was cast in season 4 of The L Word as Jodi Lerner, a gay deaf sculptor. She appeared in season 4 (2007), season 5 (2008) and season 6 (2009) as the girlfriend of one of the show's protagonists, Bette Porter, (played by Jennifer Beals).
On February 4, 2007, Matlin performed the "Star Spangled Banner" in American Sign Language at Super Bowl XLI in Miami, Florida. In January 2008, she appeared on Nip/Tuck as a television executive.
On February 18, 2008, it was announced that Matlin would participate as a competitor in the sixth season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Her dance partner was newcomer Fabian Sanchez. Matlin and Sanchez were the sixth couple eliminated from the competition.
On May 6, 2009, Matlin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On November 8, 2009, Matlin appeared on Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show, hosted by Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein. After Borstein imitated Matlin calling MovieFone and singing "Poker Face", Matlin herself appeared and launched into a comical tirade against Borstein over being made fun of, and how she was not invited to provide her own voice for Family Guy. Matlin went on to voice a fictional deaf character in the Season 10 episode "The Blind Side".
In 2010, Matlin produced a pilot for a reality show entitled My Deaf Family, which she presented to various national network executives. Although they expressed interest, no network purchased rights to the show for ongoing production. On March 29, 2010, Matlin uploaded the pilot to YouTube and launched a viral marketing campaign.
On July 26, 2010, Matlin signed a speech at an event commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
She was a finalist on the NBC show The Celebrity Apprentice, competing to win money for her charity, The Starkey Hearing Foundation, finishing in second place. However, on one episode of The Celebrity Apprentice ("The Art of the Deal" aired on April 3, 2011), Matlin raised more funds than had ever been raised for charity in a single event on any television show before ($986,000). Donald Trump then donated an additional $14,000 to make the contribution an even million.
Matlin is actively involved with a number of charitable organizations, including Easter Seals (where she was appointed an Honorary Board Member), the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, VSA arts, and the Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet. She was appointed by President Clinton in 1994 to the Corporation for National Service and served as chair of National Volunteer Week.
Matlin received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from Gallaudet University in 1987. In October 2007, she was appointed to the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees.
Matlin attended the 1987 Oscars to present the Academy Award for Best Actor. After signing her introduction in ASL, she spoke aloud the "names of the nominees" and of Michael Douglas, the winner.
On April 14, 2009, Matlin released an autobiography, I'll Scream Later. In it she describes her drug abuse and how it drove her to check herself in to the Betty Ford clinic. She also wrote about her rocky, two-year relationship with actor William Hurt, who she claims was physically abusive to her and abused drugs during that time. She also addresses the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her babysitter.
Matlin enjoys a sense of humor about her deafness: "Often I’m talking to people through my speaker phone, and after 10 minutes or so they say, 'Wait a minute, Marlee, how can you hear me?' They forget I have an interpreter there who is signing to me as they talk. So I say, 'You know what? I can hear on Wednesdays.'"
Matlin married Burbank police officer Kevin Grandalski on August 29, 1993, at the home of Henry Winkler. They had met while she was filming a scene from Reasonable Doubts outside the studio grounds, the police department having assigned Grandalski to provide security and control traffic. They have four children: Sarah, Brandon, Tyler and Isabelle.