(L-R) Verna Griffin-Tabor, Cyndi Benson and Marlee Matlin at CCS’ 14th Annual Tea & Tonic at the Grand Del Mar in honor of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
By Kaija Marshall and Nirvana Habash
1. At 21, Marlee Matlin received an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for best actress for her performance in her debut film, “Children of a Lesser God.”, she became the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar and only one of four actresses to receive the honor for her film debut.
2. Marlee lost total hearing in her right ear and about 80% hearing in her left ear at 18 months old. Her experience has shaped her identity as an activist—she was instrumental in getting legislation passed in Congress in support of Closed Captioning.
3. Her television credits include a role in ABC family’s series “Switched at Birth”, a three season stint in the groundbreaking series “The L Word”, as Joey Cruz on “The West Wing”, and two reality TV experiences– ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice”.
4. Marlee is involved in various types of charity work. In 1994, Marlee was appointed by President Clinton to the Corporation for National Service and served as Chairperson for National Volunteer Week. She also currently serves as a national celebrity spokesperson for The American Red Cross and on the boards of a number of charitable organizations (including The Children Affected by AIDS Foundation and Easter Seals.) She has received numerous awards for her charity work and was chosen as America On Line’s “Chief Everything Officer.”
5. Marlee Matlin has authored three novels for children, “Deaf Child Crossing,” “Nobody’s Perfect” and “Leading Ladies”. In 2009, she published her New York Times Best Selling autobiography, “I’ll Scream Later.”