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Marlee Matlin Case

Essay by   •  November 19, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,355 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,592 Views

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Introduction

Marlee Beth Matlin was born on August 24, 1965 in Morton Grove, Illinois to Libby and Donald Matlin. She has two brothers and is the youngest of the three siblings. She is an Academy Award winning actress and a world-renowned spokesperson for various organizations. Matlin lives in Los Angeles with her husband, law enforcement officer Kevin Grandalski, and their four children, Sarah, Brandon, Tyler and Isabelle. Despite many obstacles in Matlin's life, she has become an inspiration to members of the Deaf and hearing communities alike. She is an example of strength and determination, rising above adversity to accomplish her goals and not letting her set backs get in the way of her dreams. Matlin has inspired millions with her dedication to connecting the Deaf and hearing communities, and lives up to her title as a role model.

Growing up Deaf

The Matlin's lived a typical upper-middle class life in the suburbs. Everything was going great in the family until Marlee turned 18-months old. They began to notice Marlee was not responding to her name when she was called, and wouldn't flinch when a loud noise was made. They took Marlee to the doctor's and received news that she had lost her hearing. Marlee was diagnosed with Roseola, a form of German measles, which left her completely deaf in her right ear and 80% deaf in her left ear. At first, her parents were in complete shock. They did not understand how this could have happened without them knowing any sooner. After the shock, guilt and anger began to settle in. Marlee's parents and siblings were angry at the universe for having done this to her. They also felt guilt for not learning sign language fluently. Her mother tried for a while but soon gave up, and knew a limited amount of signs. To make up for this, Marlee's parents would give into all of her demands. Whatever Marlee wanted, she received from her parents. Candy, toys, and as a teenager cars were all given to Marlee when she asked for it. However, once Marlee got into her teens, she began to experience extreme bouts of anger. Everyone thought her anger stemmed from her being deaf, but most of it came with her mother's inability to connect with her. Her mother was not prepared to handle the difficulty of communicating with her daughter and would find it easier to not try at all.

Although there were problems in the house, Marlee's parents did all they could to make sure she was immersed in both the hearing world and the Deaf world. They made the decision to send Marlee to mainstream schooling but also entered her into deaf-education school. Marlee has repeatedly said that she is thankful for her parents for not sending her off to a Deaf school, which would have been similar to institutionalizing her at that time. At the age of five, Marlee began taking sing-language classes. It was at this life changing point were she was able to communicate and be around people who were also like her.

Learning About the Arts

At the age of 7, Marlee began attending classes at the Center on Deafness and the Arts. She received her first leading role as Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz. After a year of practicing and creating a script, Marlee performed to a packed theater. After this experience, Marlee knew this is what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She then went on to perform in Pinnochio, Peter Pan, May Poppins, and was the leading role every time. When Marlee turned twelve, a popular T.V. star decided to make a visit at the Center on Deafness. Marlee teacher asked her to perform a solo for Henry Winkler (Known for his character, 'the Fonz', on the hit show Happy Days) and his wife. After the performance, Henry was so moved he decided he wanted to help Marlee with her acting career. Henry would become Marlee's trusted advisor once she became more famous and would also embrace her into his family.

Young Adult Years

Like many high school students, Marlee's teenage years are when she started to become mixed up in the wrong crowd, partying and doing drugs on a regular basis. Marlee is not shy when it comes to talking about this time. She has admitted to doing acid, Quaaludes, downers, speed, and smoking marijuana. She soon became dependent on pills and marijuana. If she didn't have enough money to buy it on her own she would steal the money from her father. She then began blowing off her curfew and came home whenever she felt like it. Marlee would get into fights with her parents but none of it seemed to change her behavior.

After high school Marlee entered the job market and did not have much success. She worked as a

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