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NAMES & FACES
Marlee Matlin, an Oscar-winning actress, will deliver the keynote address at Wilkes University’s 60th Annual Spring Commencement on May 19. Among her many acting roles in film, television and on stage, Matlin received worldwide critical acclaim and the 1986 Academy Award for Best Actress for her motion picture debut in “Children of a Lesser God.” In 2007, she joined the cast of Showtime’s cutting edge drama “The L Word” starring opposite Jennifer Beals. Matlin has also appeared in a number of educational and children’s programs, as well as musical performances. She can currently be seen starring in “Baby Wordsworth,” part of the highly acclaimed “Baby Einstein” series, teaching sign language to infants and toddlers. In 1999, under her Solo One Productions banner, Matlin embarked on her first effort as Executive Producer and starred in the courtroom thriller “Where the Truth Lies” for Lifetime Television, and in 2003, produced “Eddie’s Million Dollar Bake-off” for The Disney Channel, receiving an honor from the National Council on Family Relations for excellence in programming. Solo One Productions optioned a screenplay written by Dr. Bonnie Culver, professor of English and director of Wilkes’ MA in creative writing program. The screenplay, Raining Rainbows, is a full-length feature film about a deaf boy, his estranged father, and a woman (Matlin’s character) who helps them come together. Matlin published a novel for children titled “Deaf Child Crossing” in 2002. Simon and Shuster published the sequel, “Nobody’s Perfect” in summer, 2006 and will publish the second sequel, “Leading Ladies” this year. In 1994, Matlin was appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the Senate to the Board of Directors for the Corporation for National Service. In 1995, she served as chairperson for National Volunteer Week and was honored in a White House Rose Garden ceremony by the President. Matlin currently serves as a national celebrity spokesperson for The American Red Cross, encouraging Americans to donate blood. She has also worked on behalf of closed captioning and in 1992 was instrumental in getting Congress to pass federal legislation requiring all televisions manufactured in the United States be equipped with closed captioning technology. She also serves on the boards of a number of charitable organizations including Easter Seals, The Children Affected by Aids Foundation, as well as those charities which primarily benefit children.