Inside Actress Marlee Matlin's Silent World

Actress Marlee Matlin opens up about her past in a brand new memoir. Matlin's book, "I'll Scream Later," highlights the Academy Award winner's life in the Hollywood spotlight as a hearing-impaired performer, as well as a surprising past spent pushing limits and defying expectations.

Check out a sneak peek below.

Excerpt

February 2, 1987, it's nearing dusk when my plane lands in Palm Springs. No one in my family is there to meet me. No friends. Just a stranger, an old man with a face that looks as if it has traveled a thousand miles of bad road. He smiles and waves in my direction. I'm sure he's seen countless like me before.

VIDEO: Inside Actress Marlee Matlins Silent World
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He seems kind, tries to be reassuring, but it still takes all of my strength to move toward him and his aging station wagon. He is a volunteer, the transportation of lost souls now one of his missions in life – maybe a way to direct a little good karma back in his direction. I understand, I could use some myself.

I have never, ever felt more alone or more frightened in my life; it's as if sadness and despair have seeped deep into my bones.

He doesn't try to talk to me, and I wonder if he knows I am Deaf or just senses that I'm too emotionally fragile to talk. Either way he's right. I have no words right now. I am as close to broken as I've ever been. We head out into the fading light for a fifteen-minute drive that feels endless, the one that will take me to the Betty Ford Center, specializing in treating alcohol and drug addiction, in nearby Rancho Mirage.

My name is Marlee Matlin, and at this moment I am twenty-one years old and at the very beginning of an unexpectedly promising acting career. I've also managed to pack a few other things into those years – among them a serious addiction to both pot and cocaine. Then there's my two-year relationship with actor William Hurt, which has gone from passionate and troubled to dangerously difficult and codependent.

The sun sets as we pull up to the front of the Center, BFC to anyone who's spent time there. The building looks imposing, not welcoming, but I can see through its expanse of windows that there is a light on inside.

***

IT SHOULD HAVE been the best time of my life. And in a surreal way it was. Almost exactly forty-eight hours earlier and a world away in the bright lights and red-carpet glitz of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, I had won a Golden Globe as Best Actress for my performance as Sarah Norman, the profoundly Deaf and profoundly angry young woman who finds herself and love in the film "Children of a Lesser God."

I stood on the stage that night in a simple black dress I'd found a few days earlier, no speech, looking down into a sea of faces. So many of the actors whose careers I'd been awed by were applauding me. I had won in a category that included Anne Bancroft, Sigourney Weaver, Julie Andrews, and Farrah Fawcett – all Hollywood veterans. I was dizzy with happiness. I felt humbled, unable to quite believe this was truly happening. To the rest of the world it must have seemed that everything was going my way. My very first film had come with a celebrated costar in William Hurt, who quickly became my mentor and my lover, and not in that order. For the most part the critics had been exceedingly kind to the film, it was doing good business at the box office both in the United States and overseas, which always makes the studio bosses happy, and now the Golden Globes had officially launched the movie, and me with it, into the Oscar race.

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