Famous Deaf People

No Hearing People Here!

Deaf people have been more in the spotlight than you know.

There are several famous deaf 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 television shows, and even started newspapers…

Famous Deaf People in Education

Alice Cogswell – Alice was the young deaf girl who inspired Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet to devote his life to educating the deaf.

Laurent Clerc – Met Gallaudet in Europe and returned with him to the United States and together, started the first school for the deaf in the US.

I. King Jordan – After the Deaf President Now (DPN) protest, he became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University.

Andrew Foster – The first deaf African-American to graduate from Gallaudet. He also was the founder of many schools for the deaf in Africa.

Dr. Gerard Buckley – President of National Technical Institute for the Deaf, NTID. First alumni to be president of NTID.

Robert F. Panara – The first faculty member at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a beloved teacher, founding member of the national Theatre of the Deaf, and honored by the World Federation of the Deaf for his contributions to education and culture.

Rachel C. Mazique – A deaf teacher of English Writing and Miss Deaf America Ambassador.

T. Alan Hurwitz – The tenth president of Gallaudet University who also served as President of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and as Vice President and Dean of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Rocky Miller – Deaf teacher at Century High School and Mayo High School.

Gerilee Gustason – Co-developer of SEE, deaf from young age (5) due to menengitis, taught at Gaulladet, has PhD in teaching, and adopted a deaf daughter.

Marie Jean Philip – Well-known researcher and advocate for American Sign Language and Deaf Culture.

Ella Mae Lentz – Well known Deaf American author, poet, teacher, and advocate. Widely known in the Deaf community for her poetry, she was awarded the Kappa Gamma Poetry Award at Gallaudet University and is part of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition.

Andrew Foster – The first black deaf person to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from Gallaudet College and established 31 schools for the deaf in thirteen African countries.

Dr. Jane Fernandes – First born deaf of deaf person to be selected President of a hearing university (Guilford College). She previously served as Provost of the University of North Carolina, Asheville and also held the post of Vice Chancellor of the University of North Carolina system.

Glenn Anderson – The first deaf black man to receive his PhD in the United States.

Dr. Douglas Burke – Founder of The Southwest College for the Deaf in Big Spring Texas.

Famous Deaf People in Movies and Television

Linda Bove – The deaf actress who played “Linda the Librarian” on Sesame Street, as well as many other roles.

Marlee Matlin – The famous deaf actress who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her debut role in Children of a Lesser God at the age of twenty-one.

Michelle Banks – A famous deaf African-American performer.

Deanne Bray – The star of Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye.

Phyllis Frelich – A very well respected deaf actress who won the Tony Award for Best Actress for her role as Sara in the Broadway version of Children of a Lesser God and acted on shows such as E.R. and Diagnosis Murder as well as Love is Never Silent, the made-for-tv movie.

Amy Ecklund – Played Abigail on the soap opera, Guiding Light.

C.J. Jones – A very intelligent and talented African-American deaf actor and comedian. He has performed in many plays, TV shows, and films.

Howie Seago – Starred in the feature film, Beyond Silence.

Anthony Natale – Most famous for his role in Mr. Holland’s Opus.

Shoshannah Stern – Best known for playing Holly Brodeen in Threat Matrix, Bonnie Richmond in Jericho, and Megan Graves on Weeds.

Christy Smith – Was the deaf contestant on a season of Survivor.

Terrylene – Played Laura Williams on the TV program, Beauty and the Beast.

Rush Limbaugh – A talk show host who experienced sudden deafness.

David K Shelton – Movie actor, comedian, and owner of Deaf Funny Videos website.

Lou Ferrigno – Played the “Hulk” in the original series.

Halle Berry – 2001 Best Actress Academy Award winner claims that she has 80% hearing loss in one ear due to domestic abuse.

Kelly Monaco – Actress who plays “Sam” on daytime soap General Hospital once stated that she has some hearing loss due to an accident while portraying a lifeguard on a FOX television program years ago.

Tristan Thunderbolt – Deaf Native American Actor.

Luke Adams – Contestant on The Amazing Race.

Russell Harvard – Well known Youtube star and participated in the hit show CSI.

Herb Larson – Deaf Administrator who also was an actor. Won an Emmy Award for a Television Talk Show, “Off Hand” (co-hosted by Lou Fant through KHJ TV and the Silent Network).

Leslie Nielsen – Starred in many classics… most notably Airplane.

Sean Berdy – A deaf actor, comedian and dancer. He was in Sandlot 2, Legend of the Mountain Man, The Deaf Family, and the hit TV show Switched at Birth.

Robert Hoskin – A well-known deaf filmmaker.

Troy Kotsur – Deaf American actor.

Tommy Korn – A well known Deaf fashion model and actor and the first ever Mr. Deaf California ’09-’11.

Jane Lynch – Famous actress known for her starring role on the hit TV series “Glee”. She is deaf in one ear.

Michael Barreca – Deaf actor who played Dummy Hoy in Signs of Time (Documentary 2008).

Rob Lowe – American actor, completely deaf in right ear.

Mark Wood – Deaf Executive Producer/Director/Writer of ASL Films (https://www.aslfilms.com).

Robert DeMayo – Deaf actor, educator, ASL consultant, and one of the subjects of “See What I’m Saying” (https://www.robertwhere.com/).

Rhondee Beriault – Deaf actress and dancer. (Quamntum Leap (1991), Alexander Graham Bell: The Sound and the Silence (1992), Reasonable Doubts (1993), I Love You, But (1998)).

Alexander Genievsky – Deaf Russian-born actor, filmmaker, writer, producer, and artist. Founder and President of the non-profit art organization Universal Sign Entertainment (https://universalsignentertainment.wordpress.com).

Katie Leclerc – American actress who has appeared on several television series, including Veronica Mars and Fashion House. In 2011, she received a lead role on the show Switched at Birth, starring as Daphne Vasquez.

Ryan Lane – Deaf actor with a role in the Dummy Hoy documentary and on television shows such as Switched at Birth, Cold Case, and House MD.

Ann Marie “Jade” Bryan – First black Deaf female filmmaker to graduated from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU; first black Deaf filmmaker to produce an indie feature film, If You Could Hear My Own Tune and with a majority of Deaf actors of color; founder of DeafVision Filmworks and Jade Films and Entertainment.

Jonathan Kovacs – Former American deaf child actor who was a regular character on The Family Tree and a semi-regular character during season nine of Little House on the Prairie.

Rydrea Walker – Founded “Walker Pictures” and released his first movie titled “Bob Movie” in 2013 at the age of 17 (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5929817).

Matthew Watkins – Deaf actor who played the deaf son of a doctor on the popular television series, ER.

Holly Hunter – American actress who starred in The Piano for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She received Oscar nominations for her roles in Thirteen, The Firm, and Broadcast News. She’s also received two Emmy’s and six Golden Globe nominations. Hunter is profoundly deaf in one ear from a bout with mumps during childhood.

Justin LeBlanc – A contestant on the show Project Runway from Season 12.

Eric Sykes – An English television, film, and radio writer, director, and actor whose career spanned over 50 years.

Dr. Wonder’s Workshop – A children’s national television show airing since 2007. The cast includes many Deaf people including: David O. Reynolds, Jonathan A. Reynolds, Justin T. Reynolds, Janet Schwall, Tiffany Hoglind, and James Parker. (https://www.drwonder.com)

Larry and Judy Vardon – Reality television stars from ABC’s “Extreme Makeover – Home Edition” in 2004.

Gaius Lee DuPree – First Deaf baby actor, at 9 months old, to work in a film. His first movie is The Devil’s Night (2014). (https://www.imdb.me/gaiuslee)

Hillary Baack – Deaf actress who recently starred as Eve in Zal Batmanglij’s film The East.

Greg Anderson – Deaf actor who played Brian Clemonds (the deaf man hit by a car) on CSI: Sounds of Silence (2001). He appeared on Sesame Street in 2005 and performed in the National Theatre of the Deaf.

Kristin Chenoweth – A famous singer and actress who has appeared in film, television, and musical theater. Her credits include Wicked, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The West Wing, and Pushing Daisies. She suffers from Meniere’s disease which can cause varying degrees of hearing loss.

Stephen Colbert – An American comedian, actor, author, and host of the Late Show. He is deaf in his right ear.

Nyle DiMarco – The first deaf contestant on America’s Next Top Model.

James Cude – Profoundly deaf award winning film and television editor who received an Emmy nomination for the MTV documentary Got Your 6.

Nanette Fabray – Award winning actress and advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities.

Stephanie Nogueras – Deaf actress, model, and activist who plays Natalie on Switched at Birth and appeared as a guest star on Grimm.

Famous Deaf Musicians

Paul Stanley – Singer in the rock band KISS was born deaf in one ear.

Evelyn Glennie – A world famous deaf percussionist.

Sean Forbes – Deaf rapper, founder of D-PAN (Deaf Professional Arts Network).

Marko Vuoriheimo “Signmark” – Deaf rapper from Finland and the first deaf person to sign a record deal with an international recording company.

Johnnie Ray – American singer, pianist, and songwriter who was deaf in one ear due to a childhood accident. He was very popular for most of the 1950s and is known to have played a major part in what would become rock and roll.

Darius McCall – Also known as “Prinz-D”, Darius is a deaf rapper from Alabama. He has two self-made albums and is on the way to completing his third.

Ludwig van Beethoven – Was completely deaf for the last part of his life and yet managed to produce some of the greatest music of all time.

James Lee Taylor III – Deaf Rapper from the South Bronx on NY Daily Newspaper and City Limits Magazine. His story has been told in the book Train Go Sorry.

Ayumi Hamasaki – Famous Japanese performer and musician who is deaf in her left ear.

Kirk Winkler “WildHandz” – Underground deaf rapper.

Vichay Phommachan – Deaf pop musician, artist, dancer, and actor. Former American Idol auditioner in 2007.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – Famous deaf aboriginal singer who lives in Australia.

Famous Deaf Performers

Matthew Morgan – Deaf World Magician (https://www.magicmorgan.com).

Liliana Morgan – Deaf Russian Dancer

Rosa Lee Timm – The Rosa Lee Show is an unique Deaf one-woman multimedia performance featuring the live Deaf performance, music, and video (visual artist).

“JJ” Jones – Deaf mime performer since 1978 (https://www.jjmime.com).

Pinky Aiello – ASL storyteller.

Trix Bruce – Deaf One Woman Show Artist (https://www.trixbruce.com).

Ricky Smith – A mime and beloved instructor.

Bob Hiltermann – Founder of Deaf West Theater (Fountain Theater) in North Hollywood, California.

Peter Cook – Deaf story teller.

Sam Sandler – Deaf illusionist (https://www.samsandler.com).

Bernard Bragg – a Deaf performer, writer, director, poet, and artist. He was a founder of The National Theater of the Deaf and is “regarded by many as the leading professional deaf actor in the country”.

Iosif Schneiderman – Deaf mime and professional actor who grew up in Russia and has performed all over the world. He directed the grand opening of DeafWay II in 2001 and co-wrote and starred in the internationally acclaimed award winning play, “Deaf Snow White” produced by Cleveland Sign Stage Theatre.

Kathy Buckley – Famous deaf comedian and motivational speaker.

Daniel Durant – Deaf actor known for his role in Deaf West Theater’s Cyrano.

Dr. Simon J. Carmel – Famous Deaf magician.

Douglas Ridloff – CEO and Artistic Director of ASL SLAM, ASL artist, actor, curator, educator and filmmaker from Brooklyn, New York (https://www.aslslam.com).

Maya Ariel – Deaf actress who played Sarah in the first Deaf/hearing production of Guys and Dolls, Jo March in an all Deaf production of Little Women, and was featured in the TV show What Would You Do?

Troy Chapman – First Deaf black actor to win the NYC Best Actor award from the Off Off Broadway Showcase Committee in 2007 for his role as Brutus Jones in Emperoro Jones at the IRT Theater in NYC. He has also starred in Othello, Raisin in the Sun, Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls, and is a founding member of the ASL Poetry performance group called “Dangerous Signs”.

Charles and Charlotte Lamberton – Famous deaf dancing siblings in the 1930s and 1940s, internationally, in Hollywood and on Broadway.

Famous Deaf People in the Media

Laura Redden Searing – First deaf female journalist.

Julius Wiggins – Creator of Silent News, the newspaper of the Deaf Community.

Ken Davis – Founder/owner of Deafnewspaper (www.deafnewspaper.com)

Thomas J. Cooney, Sr. – Sports Writer for The Silent News publication, Recipient of Thomas Jefferson Award, Points of Light honoree, Grand Marshall for the Helen Keller Parade, A Kentucky Colonel, and, presently, a Motivational Speaker and Advocate for Deaf Awareness, introducing over 1.5 million individuals to Deaf Culture and Signed Languages.

Barry Strassler – Editor of DeafDigest.net and well known sports writer for the deaf community.

Suzanne Robitaille – Deaf American journalist who has worked at BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology, founder of abledbody.com, and board member of the National Center on Disability and Journalism.

Mary Luczki – Does the news on https://www.oicmovies.com.

Tom Willard – Current editor of Deafweekly (2004-present) and former editor of NTID’s The Observing Eye (1980-81), Deaf Artists of America News (1986-95), unchARTed magazine (1990-92), Silent News (1991-96), Deaf Rochester (1994-96), and Newswaves (1996-2002).

Famous Deaf People In Organizations

Juliette Gordon Low – The founder of the Girl Scouts.

Rocky Stone – Founder of Self Help for Hard of Hearing people (SHHH).

Terry Sproul – Founder of Deaf Kids Kamp.

Sheri Farnihas – Deaf rights and NAD activist.

Opeoluwa Sotonwa – An African-American deaf attorney and literary writer. He currently serves as the Vice President of National Black Deaf Advocates Inc., the nation’s civil rights organization of deaf people of color, where he has become a pivotal source of resourcefulness to the NBDA.

Dr. Phillip Zazove – Deaf doctor in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a head of the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine.

Famous Deaf People in Sports

Dummy Hoy – The first deaf major-league baseball player.

Shelley Beattie – Professional bodybuilder who once held the record for bench pressing (315 pounds!)

Terence Parkin – A deaf Olympic swimmer who took home a silver medal in the 2000 Olympics and two gold medals in the 2005 Deaflympics.

James “Deaf” Burke – A famous deaf boxer. He was the first boxer who was involved in a fight that resulted in a death.

Curtis Pride – A current deaf professional baseball player.

Kenny Walker – Was a deaf professional football player.

Matt Hamill – Contestant on The Ultimate Fighter, now UFC fighter. Also 3 time NCAA Division III National Wrestling Champion.

Kevin M. Hall – A professional golfer who graduated from Ohio State University and plays in the NGA Tour.

Donna Sue Barker – A Deaf woman who went to Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) and won many medals in track. She represented the U.S.A. in the Deaflympics and traveled to Europe.

Marcus Titus – US National Swim Team.

Jeffrey “Jeff” Float – A former American swimmer who became the only legally deaf athlete from the USA to win an Olympic gold medal.

Tamika Catchings – A professional basketball player in the WNBA. She played for the University of Tennessee.

LeRoy Colombo – Famous deaf lifeguard entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for saving 907 lives.

Louis Long (aka The Silent Warrior) – First Deaf American professional wrestler in Japan and the Philippines and founder of the Deaf Wrestling Alliance.

Alan Kilby – The first deaf British professional wrestler who won champion. He is a retired wrestler now.

Sean Midnight – Deaf British professional wrestler.

Yakami Aoi – Deaf Japanese pro female wrestler.

Lance Allred – American basketball player, first deaf person to play in the NBA.

Tracey Kilby – A deaf UK pro wrestling valent with Sean Midnight.

Alan Kilby – World of Sport professional wrestler in the United Kingdom.

Carlos Rexach (aka The Silencer) – Deaf pro wrestler.

Jonathan Ramser – First deaf pro-wrestler in OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling) debuted on March 2nd 2013.

Matthew Eby – First deaf pro-soccer player in the U.S. Played for Real Maryland FC Professional Soccer in the United Soccer League(USL).

Jim Kyte – The first (and to date, the only) deaf National Hockey League (NHL) player.

Munir Muwwakkil – #99 played for Western Kentucky University and was the first deaf pro arena football player.

Bonnie Sloan – First deaf football player in the National Football League (NFL).

Derrick Coleman – First deaf offensive player in the NFL and plays for the Seattle Seahawks.

Ryan Ketchner – Deaf left-handed pitcher who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners.

Paul Wood – First professional deaf cyclist. Competed in Deaf Olympics seven times and won a total of 11 medals – 5 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze.

Adham Talaat – Star football defensive end for Gallaudet University.

Silent Brian Mackney – Canadian professional wrestler and the first deaf Canadian wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

Steve Downie – Professional NHL hockey player for the Pittsburgh Penguins who is deaf in one ear due to otosclerosis as a child.

David Michalowski – Famous deaf figure skater and the first to compete nationally and internationally.

Dummy Taylor – Luther Haden “Dummy” Taylor was an American deaf MLB pitcher for the New York Giants and Cleveland Bronchos from 1900-1908.

Famous Deaf Artists

Chuck Baird – A well-known deaf artist.

Betty G. Miller – A deaf artist whose work truly edifies the struggles and issues in the deaf community.

Louis Frisino – A well-known deaf painter who painted pictures of realistic-looking animals.

Douglas Tilden – A well-known deaf sculptor.

Granville Redmond – A landscape artist whose artwork is worth 6-figures.

Gerald Becker Steffen – Deaf artist at Pike Place Market in Seattle.

Samuel Hudson – An African-American Deaf artist.

Douglas Tilden – World famous deaf sculptor.

Nancy Rourke – Deaf Artist, Expressionist Paintings (https://www.nancyrourke.com).

Nellie Knopf – Deaf painter (1875-1962)

Ann Silver – Well known deaf graphic designer, advocate for deaf culture art, and one of the founders De’VIA (Deaf View Image Art).

Braam Jordaan – Well known deaf animator.

Joseph Henry Sharp – Famous deaf artist and one of the founding members of the Taos Society of Artists, a group that produced some of the most significant artwork in American history.

Tommy Motswai – Well known deaf artist living in South Africa who was chosen as the Standard Bank Artist of the year during the Grahamstown Arts Festival and has had national as well as international exhibitions.

Carlisle Robinson – An up and coming comic author and artist.

Famous Deaf Writers

Stevie Platt – The deaf author of the books Go to the Hill and The Last Servant.

Connie Briscoe – A modern deaf author who became deaf in her 20s.

Jamie Berke – The former About.com Deafness Guide

Dianrez – Well-Known Deaf Blogger

Sondra McCoy – Author of Hard Road, Easy Riding: Deaf Biker Lady.

Tomora Michelle Pace – Deaf author and teacher.

Henry A. Kisor – Author of What’s that Pig Outdoors? and other novels based on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan locales.

John Lee Clark – Author of Suddenly Slow: Poems and editor of Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology.

Q. Kelly – Deaf lesbian romance and fiction award-winning writer. (https://www.qkellybooks.com)

Kathleen Brockway – Deaf author of Baltimore’s Deaf Heritage and Detroit’s Deaf Heritage books, who resides in Maryland and gives presentations on preserving Deaf Culture & History. She also chairs the NAD Deaf Culture & History Section from 2014 to present.

Famous Deaf-Blind People

Julia Brace – A deaf-blind girl who was born before both Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller. She was successfully educated, but lost the credit as the first to Helen Keller.

Helen Keller – The most well-known deaf-blind girl who successfully learned language.

Laura Bridgman – The deaf-blind girl who was successfully educated before Helen Keller.

Other Famous Deaf People

Heather Whitestone – The first deaf woman to be crowned Miss America.

Nellie Zabel Willhite – The first deaf female pilot in South Dakota to get her license.

Rodger Young – Deaf man who faked his Army hearing test in WW2. Won a Posthumous Medal of Honor in the Soloman Islands.

Howard Hughes – An aviator, film producer, engineer, film director, industrialist, and philanthropist.

Robert Weitbrecht – Invented the TTY along with James Marsters who was also deaf.

Ashley Fiolek – Deaf motocross racer that is sponsored by Redbull.

Cal Rodgers – The very first deaf pilot in the USA in 1911.

Kitty O’Neil – A former stuntwoman and racer.

Sue Thomas – Undercover specialist for FBI, the inspiration for the TV series Sue Thomas: FBEye, international speaker, author, founder of Kennels of Levi: EPEC Service Dogs for physically challenged, founder of WaterBrooks a Christian spiritual renewal center, and founder of Sue Thomas Ministries outreach to homeless.

Thomas Alva Edison – An American scientist, inventor, and businessman.

George William 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.

Allison Lam – Deaf firefighter.

Gregory Hlibok – First person with a disability to be appointed by the FCC to the head of its Disability Rights Office.

Rhulin Thomas – First deaf aviator to fly coast to coast.

John Gotti – Boss of the most powerful organized crime family in the USA. He was deaf in one ear.

Erastus Deaf Smith – A revered Texas scout, guide, and spy and is famous for the important role he played in the Texas Revolution.

Kunle Adegboye – CEO at Morayo Communications, Morayocare & Morayowireless and a role model to many young Nigerians with his line: “Disability is in the mind”.

Claudia Gordon – First deaf female African American lawyer. She was also the first deaf student to graduate from the American University Washington DC College of Law.

Tanya Wyatt-Dennis – First black deaf hospice medical social worker, the first to graduate from Wayne State University Social Worker Program in 1997 with a Master of Social Work degree, and the first black deaf school social worder to work for Detroit Public School.

Ginger Jee – Well-respected deaf Disability Rights Advocate in New York tri-state area. Artist and former actress on the television show “Criminal Intents”. An expert in all disability rights laws and fights for all deaf access across America.

Roberto E. Wirth – A deaf world famous hotelier. Voted into the Hall of Fame of hoteliers as the Best Hotelier of the World in 2005.

Dr. Carolyn Stern – Deaf doctor in Rochester.

Rie Saito – A famous Japanese hostess who used hitsuden (written communication) to interact with her clients. She wrote the book “The Hostess With a Pen.”

Bill Clinton – Former president of the United States has a hearing loss due to age and the time he spent playing the saxophone in his youth.

Becky Brown-Center – First Deaf female pilot in Dayton, Ohio and in the state of Ohio to get a pilot’s license in 1986. Possibly the third deaf female pilot in America and former DPA member.

Jenelle Joanne Ramsami – Deaf FHM model from South Africa.

Keith Nolan – A Deaf man well known for fighting to join the US Military.

Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Kakon – A well-known and respected deaf Rabbi of the first deaf Jewish high school of its kind in the world, Yeshivas Nefesh Dovid (YND), founded in 2001.

Dr. Hart Bressler, MD – Canada’s first deaf medical physician who is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine as well as a full-time family physician and maintains a clinic that specializes in chronic pain management. He studied at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles and was instrumental in working with Rabbi Kakon to establish the Yeshiva in Toronto.

Ricky Taylor – Well known Deaf controversial vlogger on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/ridor9th).

Scott & Annette Kerr – Famous deaf couple on YouTube who received the 100,000 subscribers silver button award by YouTube on September 11, 2014. (https://www.youtube.com/user/PrankandSpank).

Jenelle Joanne Ramsami – Finalist in the Miss Deaf South Africa pageant 2009/2010, awarded the “Fresh Look” title at Miss India South Africa KZN 2010 contest, recently made the Top 5 and ‘Miss Photogenic’ for the Xtreme Models Search competition in February 2011 and FHM top 20 model, and the only partially deaf woman to compete.

Casar Jacobson – A disability and gender equality rights activist and a UN Women Youth Champion. Casar is Former Miss Canada, Miss Global Peace and Deaf International Entrepreneur. She was the winner of Miss Canada 2013.

Sir John Worchup Cornforth – Deaf British chemist who was the corecipient of the 1975 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his research on the stereochemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reactions.

Timothy Owens – One of the founders of the Deaf Youth Sports Festival (www.mdoyouth.org and former president of ASLTA before he passed away November 2015. Owens was a professor at University of Louisville for many years and received the George Veditz award from ASLTA as well as awards from WGD, Gallaudet, MDO, RID, and more.

Louis J. Schwarz – Known as the “Father” of Finance in the U.S. Deaf community. He is a Gallaudet alumni, Class of 1968, who is well-known as the first Deaf CFP (certified financial planner) and for establishing the first financial services company serving the U.S. Deaf community in 1983, Schwarz Financial Services LLC, in Maryland.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see acknowledgments from other visitors to this page…

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 […]

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Ludwig Van Beethoven

Ludwig Van Beethoven was completely deaf for the last part of his life and yet managed to produce some of the greatest music of all time. Beethoven Articles by Students Who is your favorite person from deaf history? Beethoven by Kimberly Brunner | April 12, 2017 “Oh, I love this song.” My Grandmother smiles and […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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., […]

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Julia Brace

Julia Brace was a deaf-blind girl who was born before both Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller. She was successfully educated, but lost the credit as the first to Helen Keller. Julia Brace Articles by Students Julia Brace by Anonymous | October 6, 2016 The famous deaf person I choose was Julia Brace. She lived a […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Andrew Foster

Andrew Foster is a very important person in Deaf history. He was the first African American Deaf person to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Gallaudet University and is known as the “Father of the Deaf” of Africa because he founded the first school for the deaf there and went on to establish 31 more. Andrew […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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David Michalowski

by Anonymous David at Sun Valley – 1980 David Michalowski, profoundly deaf since birth, grew up in Chicago, IL. 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. […]

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Dr. Candace McCullough

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

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Braam Jordaan

by Anonymous Braam Jordaan Braam Jordaan was born profoundly Deaf to Deaf parents in Benoni, Johannesburg. He has achieved outstanding art recognition both locally and internationally. After graduating from TAS, he worked for several high-end film and animation companies on high-end projects for BMW, Coronation, Nampak, Mitsubishi, Yardley, Musica, World Wildlife Fund, Rabea Tea, American […]

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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, […]

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Joseph Henry Sharp

by Kristyn Murray (Houston, TX) 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 […]

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Henry A. Kisor

By Anonymous 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. Webmaster Comments: Thank you so much for adding Henry Kisor to this list! I thought I might add a little bit more information […]

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Thomas Alva Edison

by Kamalakannan (India) Thomas Alva Edison 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 […]

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Robert Hoskin

by Joseph Heenan (Frankston, Australia) 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 years out of his […]

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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 […]

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Bob Hiltermann

By Anonymous Bob Hiltermann 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 California. Actor as himself in documentary movie – Through Deaf Eyes. Actor as himself […]

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Did We Miss Someone? Acknowledge Them!

This page is meant to acknowledge all the wonderful achievements of famous deaf people. There are so many deaf people who deserve to be on this list!

Do you know of a famous deaf person who is not on this list? Do you want to add a longer biography for a person already listed? Share your appreciation in the comments below!

8 replies
  1. L. Hatfield
    L. Hatfield says:

    Rush Limbaugh really should not be included on this list. Yes, he is deaf (has a hearing loss) but he is not Deaf, not aware of the Deaf community nor knowledgeable about ASL. I feel this list should be about Deaf people in the Deaf community, not people who have a hearing loss.

    • Michelle Jay
      Michelle Jay says:

      We believe it can actually be very interesting to learn about famous people who have a hearing loss but are not involved in the Deaf community at all. As people become more aware of the Deaf community they start to wonder why these people may not have embraced their hearing loss a bit more. In this article, we try to make it clear who is “Deaf” versus who is “deaf” or hard of hearing.

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