What is Marlee Matlin’s Net Worth?

Marleee Matlin is an American actress and author who has a net worth of $11 million. Marlee Matlin has appeared in films like “Children of a Lesser God” and “CODA” and shows such as “Reasonable Doubts” and “Picket Fences.” Marlee lost all hearing in her right ear and 80% of the hearing in her left ear when she was 18 months old. In 1986, 21-year old Marlee Matlin became the youngest woman in history and the only deaf performer to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in “Children of a Lesser God”. Matlin has appeared in many films and television shows including “My Name is Earl”, “Seinfeld“, “Desperate Housewives”, “The L Word”, “Nip/Tuck”, “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”, “The West Wing”, “Reasonable Doubt”, “The Practice” and “Switched at Birth”. Her subsequent work in film and television have brought her four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe Award.

Early Life

Matlin was born on August 24, 1965 in Morton Grove, Illinois to parents Libby and Donald Matlin. By the time she was 18 months old, Matlin had lost essentially all of her hearing due to illness and fevers. She grew up with her two older brothers, Eric and Marc, and was raised in a Reformed Jewish household. Because she was deaf, her family attended a synagogue for the Deaf and was able to study Hebrew phonetically. She attended John Hersey High School and then attended Harper College in Palatine, Illinois.


Matlin began acting at a young age. When she was seven, she starred as Dorothy in an International Center on Deafness and the Arts production of “The Wizard of Oz.” She continued performing with the group throughout her childhood. During one of her performances, she was discovered by actor Henry Winkler. This meeting ultimately led to her film debut in “Children of a Lesser God” in 1986. Matlin portrayed the character of Sarah Norman and her performance received high praise from critics. She also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actress. Only 21 years old at the time, she remains the youngest actress to receive the Oscar in the Best Actress category. For a long time, she remained the only Deaf nominee or recipient in any category at the Academy Awards until 36 years later when Deaf actor and filmmaker, Troy Kotsur, won for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film “CODA.”

In 1988, she appeared on “Sesame Street,” where she performed a song with Billy Joel. Matlin used sign language in the performance. Joel then invited Matlin to appear in the music video for his song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

Matlin then landed a role in the television series “Reasonable Doubts” in 1991. She remained on the show until 1993 and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work. In 1992, she made a guest appearance in “Picket Fences,” for which she received an Emmy Award. She later became a series regular on the show until its final season in 1996. In 1994, she portrayed Carrie Buck in “Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story,” based on the 1927 United States Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell. It was the first role in which Matlin portrayed a hearing woman.

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Throughout the late 1990s, Matlin had a number of recurring and guest roles in shows like “The West Wing,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Seinfeld,” “The Outer Limits,” “ER,” “The Practice,” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” For her guest appearances in “Seinfeld,” “The Practice,” and “Law & Order,” she received Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

In 2004, she starred in the film “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” and also hosted the 3rd Annual Festival for Cinema of the Deaf in Chicago. Over the next few years, she made appearances in “Desperate Housewives,” “My Name is Early,” “CSI: NY,” and “The L Word.” She also competed in the sixth season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” in 2008.

In 2009, Matlin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She also began voicing a recurring character on “Family Guy.” In 2013, she played herself in the film “No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie.” In 2017, she played a recurring role in the series, “The Magicians.” She also joined the thriller series “Quantico” as a series regular in the show’s third season. In 2021, she appeared in the film “CODA,” which tells the story of a hearing girl who is the child of deaf adults. Matlin portrayed one of the parents in the film. The film won the SAG Award for Best Ensemble.

In addition to her acting career, Matlin has published a number of books. In 2002, she published her first novel, “Deaf Child Crossing,” which was based loosely on her childhood. Several years later, she published a sequel called “Nobody’s Perfect,” which was produced on stage in Washington D.C. in 2007. In 2009, she published an autobiography, “I’ll Scream Later.”

Personal Life

Matlin married Kevin Grandalski, a police officer, in August of 1993. The couple had met while she was filming “Reasonable Doubts” as Grandalski had been assigned to provide security for the studio grounds and to control the traffic. The couple have had four children together – Sarah, Brandon, Tyler, and Isabelle.

In her 2009 autobiography, “I’ll Scream Later,” Matlin describes some of the hardships she has faced in her life. She discusses her drug abuse and how she got sober with help from the Betty Ford Center. She also divulged that she had been physically abused by William Hurt during the two year relationship that had had during the 1980s.

Matlin is involved in a number of charitable organizations like Easter Seals, the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, VSA Arts, and the Red Cross. She has also been a strong advocate for the rights of deaf people throughout her life. She testified before the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources to show her support of the establishments of the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders.

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