Marlee Matlin

Academy Award-winning Actress & Activist

Marlee Matlin is an award-winning actress and devoted social activist. At the age of 21, she won the Best Actress Oscar for her film debut in Children of a Lesser God.

Matlin lost her hearing when she was 18 months old, but she never let difficult challenges deter her. Along with a successful Hollywood career, she has dedicated herself to raising awareness for many humanitarian causes, including diversity and LGBT rights. 

She is a staunch advocate for children and a champion for those struggling against domestic abuse and addiction (battles she knows well). In support of the Starkey Hearing Foundation, Matlin has helped raise awareness for better hearing health for millions of deaf and hard of hearing children and adults in developing countries.

She has been instrumental in getting federal legislation passed in support of closed captioning, both on broadcast television and broadband, as well as text-to-911 emergency services. In 2013, in association with MEDL Mobile, Matlin also created “Marlee Signs,” the first celebrity-driven app teaching basics of American Sign Language on mobile devices and Apple platforms. 

Matlin currently guest stars on the Peabody Award-winning ABC Family series Switched at Birth. She serves as a national celebrity spokesperson for the American Red Cross as well as the National Association for the Deaf. 

Afternoon Plenary See full program