Award winning deaf actress ‘far from silent’

She’s the youngest to win an Academy Award for best actress in a leading role for the film Children of a Lesser God. She’s appeared in a variety of television shows. She salsa-ed, samba-ed and lindy-hopped through episodes of Dancing with the Stars.

She’s also legally deaf.

Tonight, Marlee Matlin will take the stage of the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater to discuss how she overcame her disability and achieved success in the entertainment industry. In the speech, titled “The Roaring Silence: From Oscar to the West Wing and Beyond,” Matlin will also share steps to overcome challenges in life.

“We all face barriers of one kind or another and (in) the end, we can accomplish so much more if we focus on our abilities rather than dwell on perceived ‘disabilities,'” Matlin wrote in her MySpace blog, “I may be deaf, but I’m always listening to my heart and I’m far from silent.”

Matlin  regularly travels to universities to share her perspectives with others.

She has appeared in television shows including The West Wing, The L Word, Seinfeld and Law and Order: SVU. She has been nominated twice for Golden Globes and four times for Emmys.

Matlin also works as a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross and sits on the board for organizations including Easter Seals and the Children Affected by Aids Foundation.

In her free time, Matlin works to help hearing-impaired causes. She helped convince Congress to pass legislation making closed-caption ability mandatory for all U.S.manufactured televisions.

ULS student director Amy Bortzfield said that in addition to Matlin’s discussion, there will be a short pre-show presentation featuring Jennifer Potter and Dwain Scheuneman in a dance duet.

“The Roaring Silence: From Oscar to the West Wing and Beyond” will take place in the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is free for USF students.

Bortzfield said Matlin’s discussion cost $18,500, which was paid for with a portion of Activity and Service fees.