Category: Famous Deaf People

Welcome to our list of Start ASL articles about famous deaf people!

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Strictly Come Dancing Performance Prompts a Surge in Google Searches for “Learn Sign Language”

  Deaf UK TV actor Rose Ayling-Ellis, 2022 winner of the televised British dance contest Strictly Come Dancing, seems to have inspired many people to learn sign language. The actor’s Viennese waltz, performed with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, introduced Sign Language choreography to the highly successful BBC show. The dance was charged with emotion and […]

Juliette Gordon Low: Founder of the Girl Scouts and A Deaf Champion Who Wouldn’t Hear “No”

Juliette Gordon Low: A Deaf Champion Who Wouldn’t Hear “No” Each year Girl Scouts all around the US celebrate October 31st as their movement’s Founder’s Day. The date was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low. Blazing a trail for countless young girls to follow and living a life of […]

American Sign Language Increases Deaf Awareness and Touches Hearts

More and more people are learning American Sign Language to be able to communicate with their loved ones or friendly strangers to make someone’s day. There are many great stories to tell. Check out how these stories have an impact on the Deaf community and make a difference in people’s lives. Meteorologist Goes Viral After […]

Learn American Sign Language like Fans of Makkari (Eternals Star)?

Learn American Sign Language From Big Hit Movies More and more people are wanting to learn American sign language. Now, people can learn ASL from big hit movies such as Eternals, Quiet Place Part 1 & 2, Godzilla vs. Kong, CODA, and many more. Have you noticed that American Sign Language and Deaf roles are becoming […]

DeafNation World Expo in Las Vegas August 2022

Joel Barish hosted the 4th DeafNation World Expo & Conference at the Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 1-4, 2022. About 15,000 Deaf people from around the world, including Deaf celebrities such as Daniel Durant, Troy Kotsur, Renca Dunn, and Wawa attended the event. There were fourteen sponsors and three partners. […]

Bob Hiltermann

by Anonymous | March 2, 2013 Bob Hiltermann is a well known Deaf actor and is known for: Founder of Deaf West Theater (Fountain Theater) in North Hollywood California. All My Children, Children of a Lesser God, Cold Case. Drummer for the only Deaf Band Beethoven’s Nightmare. Teacher of American Sign Language in Mission Hills […]

Deaf People at the Movies

  It is exciting to go to the movies and watch newly released movies; however watching movies in theaters may or may not be a fun experience for D/deaf people. D/deaf people wants to enjoy the movies just like everyone else. The only issue is that D/deaf people cannot hear so D/deaf people are unable […]

Deaflympics 2022

Deaflympics 2022 Deaflympics occurred between May 1 – May 15, 2022. It occurred in Caxias do Sul, Brazil. There were 73 nations who joined Deaflympics and list of medals each countries got. There were a total of 2,408 athletes: 1,644 were men and 764 were women. USA won 20 gold medals, 11 silver medals, and […]

Do You Speak American Sign Language?

Have you ever been fascinated when people say, “Do you speak sign language?” Sign language isn’t a spoken language, so it does not really make sense to say “speak” as oppose to “know”. American Sign Language is a developed language that is made of hand movements, body language, gestures, and facial expressions. Many foreign languages […]

CODA Wins An Award for Best Cast

This movie CODA made history with its win for the 2022 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards’ top prize of Best Cast and the actor, Troy Kotsur wins an award for Actor® for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. This is Marlee Matlin’s 2nd award since she won the Best Actress Motion […]

CODA starring Emilia Jones, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin, and Troy Kotsur

The movie CODA will release on August 13, 2021 on Apple TV+; in addition this will be the first film that the closed captions will be burned in the film. Watch the trailer here. “Gifted with a voice that her parents can’t hear, seventeen-year-old Ruby (Emilia Jones), is the sole hearing member of a deaf […]

Famous Deafblind: Julia Brace, Laura Bridgman, and Helen Keller

Julia Brace was the first Deafblind person before Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller. Julia Brace was born, in that part of Hartford County, Connecticut, that is now Newington on June 13, 1807. Julia had a normal childhood. She was sent to school where she learned to read and spell two word syllables, or when she […]

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Athletes

  Deaf people can do anything except hear. There are famous Deaf entertainment such as acting, signing music, comedians, inspirational speakers, but there are also many famous Deaf or Hard of Hearing athletes of various sports including bodybuilding, football, wrestling, motocross racing, etc. Below are a few examples of many Deaf athletes who they did […]

3 Deaf Performers Perform at the 2022 Super Bowl

(Photo credit NAD Facebook post from 2/13/2022, https://www.facebook.com/NAD1880/photos/a.10152795501263810/10159783398858810/)   This was the big moment. The big moment when three famous deaf performers got the spotlight at the 2022 Super Bowl. Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals were the final teams to play at the Super Bowl and a glorious victory when the LA Rams won. […]

The Origins of American Sign Language in the United States

There are many Deaf actors and movies that have American Sign Language. Not only are Deaf people have a successful career in acting. Deaf people are successful in other ways not just in the media industry. There are several Deaf people and hearing people who have supported the Deaf community that have made Deaf history. […]

Marvel Studios Eternals Movie

American Sign Language and Deaf roles are becoming more and more a popular in the media industry. Whether it is a major role or supporting role, Deaf actors are getting more opportunities to raise to fame and start their acting career. Other movies that have American Sign Language and Deaf actors are Quiet Place Part […]

American Sign Language vs Israeli Sign Language

Did you know American Sign Language is not universal? In the article, “Is American Sign Language Universal”, it talked about whether or not American Sign Language is universal, in other words, ASL is used in all countries all over the world. The answer is no. American Sign Language is only unique to the US whereas […]

Deaf-Owned Businesses

  Deaf-owned businesses and American Sign Language (ASL) are spreading and becoming widely popular. There are many Deaf-owned business all over the country. Here are some Deaf business that you maybe probably heard of, but if not, you should definitely check them out! Apparel By Mara – An iconic ILU designs on soft t-shirts, magnets, […]

Thomas Alva Edison

by Kamalakannan (India) Another famous deaf person is Thomas Alva Edison who was born on February 11, 1847. He was an American scientist, inventor, and businessman. However, many people don’t know that Edison had a hearing loss since childhood and reportedly lost more of his hearing and became technically deaf in his early teens. Thomas […]

Deaf Community Entertainment, What’s it like?

One of the most popular entertaining activities in the Deaf community is storytelling and expressive poetry. Since American Sign Language (ASL) is very visual, storytelling contains a lot of exaggerated expressions, gestures, and body movement which are the most commonly used to tell a story or a poem. There are many benefits when it comes […]

Famous Deaf People | A Quiet Place Part II Movie Review

When the pandemic broke out in February 2020, everything was put on hold including the suspenseful thriller A Quiet Place Part II that was supposed to release on March 8, 2020. Once it was safe for businesses to reopen, there was a big rave when this movie finally was released on May 31st, 2021. The […]

Henry Kisor – Famous Deaf Author

Henry Kisor is the author of What’s that Pig Outdoors? and other novels based on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan locales. Deaf all his life, blogger, professional editor and writer for Chicago newspaper, humorist. “The average deaf person has the peripheral vision of a fish-eye lens, almost 180 degrees, and spots the tiniest movement within […]

Famous Deaf Actors – Bringing ASL to Life

Truly Inspirational There have been several famous deaf actors in the media that have made significant contributions to the deaf community and hearing society. If not for them and their influence in mainstream entertainment, deaf awareness may not be where it is today. These famous deaf people changed the Deaf world by showing hearing society […]

The Story of Deaf Smith – A Hero of the Texas Revolution

Deaf Smith is famous for the important role he played in the Texas Revolution. Erastus “Deaf” Smith was born April 19, 1787 in Dutchess County, New York and lost most of his hearing due to a childhood illness. Smith first moved to Texas in 1821 where he married a Hispanic-Texan (Tejana) named Guadalupe Ruiz Duran. […]

Deanne Bray – Deaf Actress from Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye

Deanne Bray is a well known deaf actress who was probably the first deaf person Hollywood created an entire television show around. She is best known for playing Sue Thomas on Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye that aired on the PAX channel for 3 seasons. She competed with both hearing and deaf actresses for the lead role, […]

An Interview with Dianrez – Deaf Blogger

If you have ever wanted to read the true thoughts of a Deaf person who is a strong advocate for Deaf culture and is a proponent of the Deaf community, follow the blogs of Dianrez. When I was learning sign language and entering into the community of the Deaf, her blogs gave me true insight […]

An Interview with Jamie Berke

An Interview with the Famous (Now Former) About.com Deafness Guide If you have ever researched deafness, deaf people, or sign language online, you have most likely landed on one of the many Deafness articles by Jamie Berke at About.com. Jamie was the Deafness Guide for About.com from 1997-2012. When I was learning sign language, her […]

Juliette Gordon Low – Deaf Founder of the Girl Scouts

Juliette Gordon Low was a deaf woman who was best known for being the founder of the Girl Scouts organization. Juliette Gordon Low Articles by Students Who is your favorite person from deaf history? Juliette Gordon Low, a Hero to All People by Jodi J (Parsons, KS, USA) | January 24, 2013 Perhaps no greater tribute […]

Laurent Clerc

Laurent Clerc played a significant part in the history of American Sign Language and was the first deaf teacher of the deaf in America. He was also among the first of these educators in the world and has been known as “The Apostle of the Deaf in America” and “The Father of the Deaf.” Not […]

LeRoy Colombo – Famous Deaf Lifeguard

LeRoy Colombo was a famous deaf lifeguard entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for saving 907 lives. Leroy Colombo Articles by Students LeRoy Colombo by Leah Ward (Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.) | January 4, 2010 LeRoy Colombo was born on December 23, 1905 in Galveston, Texas. He was diagnosed with spinal meningitis when he […]

Sean Berdy

Sean Berdy is a deaf actor, comedian and dancer. He was in Sandlot 2, Legend of the Mountain Man, The Deaf Family, and is best known for his role as Emmett on the hit TV show Switched at Birth. Sean Berdy Articles by Students Sean Berdy by Alex (Buffalo) | May 15, 2014 O.K., O.K., […]

Laura Redden Searing – First Deaf Female Journalist

Laura Redden Searing was born in 1839 and is best known for being the first deaf female journalist. She was sent by the St. Louis Republican to cover the American Civil War in 1860 and lived a life where she never allowed her deafness or age to hold her back. Laura Redden Searing Articles by Students […]

Helen Keller – The First Deaf-Blind College Graduate

Helen Keller is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer. And that is so amazing because she was deaf and blind. When I was in elementary school, we learned all about Helen Keller. I completed a report on her and dressed up as Anne Sullivan in the fourth grade. Helen is the most famous deaf-blind person […]

Heather Whitestone – The First Deaf Miss America

Heather Whitestone McCallum is known as “Miss Deaf America” (even though Miss Deaf America is a different pageant). She was the first deaf woman to be crowned Miss America in the Miss America pageant. Heather is both beautiful and intelligent, and it’s nice to see that the panelists didn’t discriminate against her because she’s deaf. […]

Laura Bridgman – The First Helen Keller

Laura Bridgman was the first deaf-blind person to learn language. When you think about the first deaf-blind child to be educated, you will most likely think of Helen Keller. In reality, though, Helen’s frustrated teacher was not the first to attempt this type of education. She was born on December 21, 1829 in Hanover, New […]

Dummy Hoy (William Hoy) – The First Deaf Major League Baseball Player

Dummy Hoy made history as the first deaf major league baseball player. He’s also not famous just because he was deaf; he was also a remarkably talented and skilled baseball player. Dummy was anything but dumb. Baseball is known as America’s sport, and Hoy had a lot to do with what happens in baseball today. […]

George William Veditz

George Veditz was a former president of the National Association of the Deaf of the United States and was one of the first to film American Sign Language. George William Veditz Articles by Students George Veditz by Alyssa Mattingly | October 20, 2016 “ASL is not just a different language, it is a different medium […]

Sue Thomas

Sue Thomas was a deaf undercover specialist for the FBI. She was the inspiration for the TV series Sue Thomas: FBEye, an international speaker, author, and founder of Kennels of Levi: EPEC Service Dogs for people who are physically challenged. She was also the founder of WaterBrooks – a Christian spiritual renewal center – and […]

Linda Bove – “Linda the Librarian”

Linda Bove was born on November 30, 1945 in Garfield, New Jersey to deaf parents. She majored in library science at Gallaudet University and received her bachelor’s degree in 1968. She then got into the acting profession and performed for the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) recently after it was formed in 1967. In […]

Nellie Zabel Willhite – First Deaf Woman Pilot

by Clayton Shell | November 16, 2017 Nellie Zabel Willhite was the woman that I had found in my research on “Deaf people in History.” Born November 22, 1892, in Box Elder, South Dakota, she became the first woman to fly in South Dakota, and the first deaf woman pilot. She was not born deaf, […]

Alice Cogswell – The Beginning of American Deaf Education

When you are 9 years old, you don’t think about making history. Alice Cogswell made history at the age of 9 by sparking the beginning of the creation of American Sign Language and American deaf education. Alice is known as the young deaf girl who inspired Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet–the man who began the education of […]

Marie Heurtin – the French Helen Keller

by Alyssa Weeks | November 14, 2017 My favorite person in deaf history is Marie Heurtin. You might know her as the French Hellen Keller but to many she is not known at all. Her story was one of trials and tribulation. Marie was a deaf-blind girl who had absolutely no manners and behaved like […]

Marlee Matlin – Deaf Academy Award Winner

Marlee Matlin was born in Morton Grove, Illinois on August 24th, 1965. After she came down with the German Measles at the age of eighteen months, she lost her hearing and became deaf. When she was young, she communicated with her family and friends using sign language. When she was seven years old, Marlee started […]

Regina Olson Hughes

by Cynthia Brainerd | February 27, 2017 Regina Olson Hughes (1895-1993) became fully deaf at the age of 14, due to the effects of scarlet fever. She could still speak fluently, but had to find new ways of communicating with the world around her. She attended the famous Gallaudet College where she later lived for […]

Teresa de Cartagena

by Jack | April 7, 2017 Teresa de Cartagena was a nun in 15th Century Spain. She is remarkable for being Spain’s first feminist writer as well as for being deaf and writing positively about it. Teresa went deaf in her late twenties/early thirties. She was devastated by this, thinking that God was punishing her […]

Johnnie Ray – Deaf “Father of Rock and Roll”

by Jennifer Hatley | July 7, 2017 I find music to be my outlet for so many different things. I chose Johnnie Ray (John Alvin Ray) as he was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. John Alvin Ray made his debut and held his popularity in the 1950s. I find that being able to find […]

Ferdinand Berthier

by Catherine Ritchie | July 22, 2017 The Deaf community has a rich culture with many prominent figures in its history. Some whose names are fairly well known such as Gallaudet and Helen Keller and other’s whom receive less recognition despite their important contributions. My favorite person thus far in Deaf history is one of […]

I. King Jordan – Deaf People Can Do Anything Except Hear

by Brent | November 9, 2017 This now famous quote is from my favorite person in Deaf history – I. King Jordan. He became the first Deaf president of Gallaudet University as a result of the Deaf President Now movement in 1988. Before that time, the premier university for the Deaf was led by hearing […]

Dr. Candace McCullough

by Anne (Richmond, VA) Dr. Candace McCullough is the first Deaf psychologist to set up a counseling business. She makes counseling services accessible to Deaf people all over the states. Dr. McCullough is a Deaf psychotherapist, licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She holds certifications as an Approved Clinical Supervisor and a Distance Credentialed […]

Nanette Fabray

by Nanette Kaufmann (Kissimmee, Florida) Award winning actress and advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. Her honors representing the handicapped are many, including the President’s Distinguished Service-vice Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award. She and Helen Keller are the only women to receive the Public Service Award from the American Academy of […]

Gertrude Ederle

by Natalie Picone | August 27, 2016 In 1926 at the age of 19, Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim across the English Channel.  Twenty-one miles from Dover, England to Cape Griz-Nez. Gertrude was born to German immigrants in New York City on October 23, 1905.  She was one of five children.  Ederle […]

Kevin Lucas Smire

by David Cooper | October 13, 2016 The deaf person wrote about was Kevin Lucas Smire who was also known as “Deaf Kev.” He was born on October 28, 1996 and is 19 years old. I picked him because I love music so I searched for hours looking for a deaf musician and I found […]

Louise Fletcher

by Lisa | February 3, 2016 I’m going to talk about someone here who first opened my eyes to sign language, and that is the actress Louise Fletcher. Louise Fletcher was not deaf herself, but was born to deaf parents. She most famously played Nurse Ratched in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. […]

David Michalowski

by Anonymous David Michalowski, profoundly deaf since birth, grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He competed at the United States Figure Skating National Championships from 1978 until 1982, including the 1980 Winter Olympic Trials, and at four international competitions from 1980 until 1982, including the Winter World University Games twice. David became the FIRST deaf figure […]

Joseph Henry Sharp

by Kristyn Murray (Houston, Texas) Joseph Henry Sharp was one of the founding members of the Taos Society of Artists, a group that produced some of the most significant artwork in American history. Born in 1859, he became Deaf after an incident where he almost drowned in a river at the age of 12. By […]

Lou Ferrigno

by Hannah (Indiana) Lou has been an inspiration to many deaf, he played the Hulk in the original series, he also appeared in “I love you, Man” and appeared as himself in “The King of Queens” and also performed in Hercules. Lou was also a body builder and worked closely with former governor of California, […]

Granville Redmond

by Grace (Canada) My favorite deaf historical figure is Granville Redmond. His struggle to be accepted by the common man is fairly touching, and his paintings are simply out of this world! Throughout his life, he accomplished much more than most do. Aside from creating a wealth of inspiring, beautiful artwork, he also worked with […]

Robert Hoskin

by Joseph Heenan (Frankston, Australia) | March 8, 2013 The 48 year old Australian named Robert Hoskin is a well-known deaf filmmaker who has won several film awards from his short films shot in 35mm film format intended for festival screening some years ago. He has expertised in 35mm film making activities for nearly 20 […]

Rodger Young

by Anonymous Rodger Young was a deaf man who faked his Army hearing test in World War II. He won a Posthumous Medal of Honor in the Soloman Islands. Rodger Young was a member of the United States National Guard with the rank of sergeant. However, before going to war in World War II, he […]

Joel Barish – Contemporary Deaf Performer

by Sara Huang (Taipei, Taiwan) | March 12, 2013 I have read a lot about the oppression of the Deaf, but I really appreciate people who have embraced Deaf culture and have a passion for studying the social fabric of Deaf people in other countries. Joel Barish has traveled the globe and has been filmed […]

Matt and Kay Daigle | That Deaf Guy

by Karri Kimery | August 18, 2016 As I was reading about people in the deaf community, I came across Matt and Kay Daigle.  These two met in 1993, at Deaf/Hearing touring theater company where they were both cast members.  These two are comedy partners.  While they were at a cartooning convention in Missouri, Kay […]

Famous Deaf People

No Hearing People Here! Deaf people have been more in the spotlight than you know. There are so many famous deaf people and famous hard of hearing people who have been the founders of many organizations, been pioneers in deaf education, written books, painted famous artworks, held world records in sports, acted on several well-known […]

Braam Jordaan

by Anonymous (03/25/2020) Braam Jordaan was born in Benoni, South Africa in 1981. He was born “profoundly deaf to deaf parents”. Jordaan and his family moved to Cape Town, South Africa and attended high school at De La Bat School for the Deaf. This is where Braam first discovered his knack for political activism. Braam […]

See What I’m Saying: Deaf Culture in the Entertainment Industry

by Lisa Baker (05/27/2020) Literature and the Arts is an incredibly important outlet within the deaf community. It is one of the four crucial values of Deaf Culture, as it provides a sense of pride in one’s culture, especially for those deaf or hard-of-hearing who may have strong feelings about their hearing loss (Jay, 44). […]

Shoshannah Stern

Shoshannah Stern is a well known deaf actress who is best known for her roles as Bonnie Richmond in Jericho, Holly Brodeen in Threat Matrix, and Megan Graves on Weeds. Shoshannah was born in Walnut Creek, California in 1980 and attended the California School for the Deaf, Fremont growing up. American Sign Language was her […]