Academy Award-winner Marlee Matlin to speak on campus

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin, who earned an Academy Award as best actress in 1987, will visit the UO to talk about her time as a deaf actress and her experiences in deaf culture.

The free event, presented by the University of Oregon American Sign Language program, is at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, in the Erb Memorial Union ballroom. Seating is limited.

“We’re excited to have Marlee come to campus and give another perspective into deaf culture,” said Jo Larson, the UO’s sign language instructor. “After 10 years of working to bring her here, we’re grateful to have her share her insight with students and faculty.”

Matlin’s appearance is presented in partnership with the UO Communications Disorders and Sciences program and the College of Education.

Matlin received the Academy Award for best actress at age 21 for her film debut in “Children of a Lesser God.” Though Matlin lost her hearing when she was only 18 months old, she never let her challenges dictate her future or deter her dreams. Along with a successful Hollywood career, Matlin has dedicated herself to raising awareness for many humanitarian causes, including diversity and LGBT rights.

In 2015, she developed “Marlee Signs,” the first celebrity-driven app teaching basics of American Sign Language on mobile devices. In 2016, Martin returned for her third appearance at the Super Bowl, signing the national anthem alongside Lady Gaga. She currently stars in the popular television series Switched at Birth.

“Marlee’s an outstanding actress who serves as an example that talent doesn’t have to held back because of limitations,” Larson said. “She’s shown grace and persistence and I think she has an ability to inspire people to pursue their passions no matter what the circumstance.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with limited seating available. Sign language and voice interpreters will be provided.

For additional information, contact Jo Larson at