Friday, May 20, 2011

Deaf actress Marlee Matlin angles to win "Celebrity Apprentice" for needed career boost

From The NY Post:

For Marlee Matlin, the chance to win "Celebrity Apprentice" couldn't have come at a better time. (She is far right in picture.)

Last week, the Oscar winner confirmed she would likely have to sell her LA home and pull her four kids out of private school to settle a $50,000 tax debt.

"I'm not shying away from it, and I'm certainly not ashamed of it," Matlin, 45, said.

"My husband is a Los Angeles-area police officer and, between the two of us, we have always made ends meet in the past -- and we will in this circumstance, as well."

This week, things are already looking brighter for the actress, best known for the 1986 film "Children of a Lesser God."

Matlin -- who lost much of her hearing by age 2 -- is set to star in a movie, "Silent Knights," about a football coach who takes over a struggling team at a college for the deaf.

She also landed a role on the new ABC Family series "Switched at Birth" -- one of those rare acting jobs where her children, who range in age from 7 to 15, can see her work.

"They can't watch me on 'The L Word,' that's for sure," she told The Post this week. " 'The West Wing' probably would go above their heads.

"And they can't watch me on 'Celebrity Apprentice.' I don't want them watching that. Too much craziness!"

Fueled by dramatic meltdowns and catfights, the 4-year-old celebrity version of "Apprentice" has helped launch or revive the show biz careers of a flock of Trump contestants -- perhaps none more than its first winner, Piers Morgan.

"It really launched him in the US beyond just being 'that British guy on 'America's Got Talent,' " says Season 2 contestant Melissa Rivers.

Two hours of prime-time exposure every week "gets you back in the public consciousness," Rivers says. "Especially somebody like Marlee.

"There is buzz around you in producers' minds. People start talking about what a great actress she is, and, suddenly, they are considering her for a new role.

"I think for Lil Jon, Marlee and John Rich, the show has been a great thing," says Rivers. "As hard as [the show] can be, the long-term effects for them are going to be huge."

Matlin will square off against country star Rich in Sunday night's live two-hour finale.

"It was a good thing I was deaf," she said after working for a month and a half with drama queens Star Jones, NeNe Leakes and Dionne Warwick.

"The tones, the voices, the fighting . . . Sometimes I would just look away. I wouldn't even look at Jack [Jason, her longtime business partner and interpreter]. It just got to be too much sometimes."