AE: You claim to be a sports fanatic, actually boasting that placing a bat in your hand is a promise of a couple of RBIs. I checked up on you because you played in the Taco Bell All Star Legends and Celebrity Softball game last year, and this does not look like the best way to maintain your RBI average. How do you explain yourself?
Matlin gooses Gossage at the Taco Bell All Star Legends
and Celebrity Softball Game
MM: Hey, if I see a nice butt, I’ve got to check it out. And isn’t his name “Goose Gossage”? I gave him a little goose, that’s all!
AE: Actually, you scored a run and had two RBIs, and I’m only bringing that up so I can post a picture of you in your uniform, because look how cute you are!
Matlin celebrates after picking up a single
AE: In your book you mention that the Deaf community has often been torn in their support of your career. Sometimes you sign, sometimes you speak. It just depends on need of the character and the writing of the show, yet everyone seems to have an opinion about what is best for the Deaf community. Is that still a struggle for you?
MM: It’s not a struggle; it just is what it is. I’m an actor, but I’m also human. I can’t be everyone’s answer to making everything right in the world just because the world has historically not understood people who are Deaf. I’ve learned I’m just one of many, and that whatever people want to put on me belongs to them, not me. All I can do is speak out on what I believe and hope that it will be considered. I don’t have to be liked or loved by everyone, and I certainly hope that everyone respects my opinion as I would theirs.
At 43, I’ve learned to let it just slide off my back (unless they’re talking about my kids, and then I get in their faces). I’ve mellowed out — a lot.
AE: I think Seinfeld‘s “Lip Reader” episode is iconic. Did you catch any flak for taking on that role?
Matlin as Jerry’s girlfriend in Seinfeld‘s “Lip Reader” episode
MM: The only thing I got for taking on that role was an Emmy nomination and a lot of approving looks, from people in airports, on the freeway, in public restrooms while I was freshening up! People across the board loved the episode and why wouldn’t they? It was SEINFELD for God’s sake, probably one of the top one or two funniest sitcoms in history. I am so honored to have been a small part of its legacy.
And I am so jazzed to be working and developing a half-hour comedy with the creator of “Lip Reader,” Carol Leifer. Funny lady!