Known as an American actress, Marlee Beth Matlin won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Children of a Lesser God (1986), and is both the only deaf performer to win the award, at 21, the youngest to date. Her work in film and television has brought her two additional nominations, and four Emmy nominations in a Golden Globe award. Currently, she plays the recurring character Melody Bledsoe on the ABC Family television teen/family drama series Switched at Birth. In 2015, she made her Broadway debut in the revival production of the musical Spring Awakening.
Deaf since she was 18 months old, she is also a prominent member of the National Association of the Deaf. Her longtime interpreter is Jack Jason. She had a Bat Mitzvah, and managed to read her Torah portion by learning Hebrew phonetically. Matlin graduated from John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights and attended Harper College.
Matlin has two older brothers,
Ericand Marc. Her ex-boyfriend is William Hurt. After her marriage with Burbank police officer Kevin Grandalski on August 29, 1993, at the home of actor Henry Winkler, the couple has four children: Sarah, Brandon, Tyler, and Isabelle. She is also close to Jennifer Beals.