Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Phyllis Frelich

Phyllis Frelich was born on 29 February, 1944 in Devils Lake, a small town in North Dakota. Phyllis is an American actress and is one of the most noted deaf actresses in the United States working in the entertainment industry.

Phyllis was born to deaf parents and is the oldest of 9 children (all of whom are also deaf). Phyllis attended North Dakota School for the Deaf, graduating in 1962, and then went on to study at Gallaudet College (now known as Gallaudet University), a school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Phyllis originated the leading female role in the Broadway production of Children of a Lesser God, for which she won the 1980 Best Actress Tony Award.

Marlee Matlin played Phyllis’s role in the film version, and won the Best Actress Academy Award.

Phyllis has been married to Robert Steinberg for many years, and they have 2 children.

Phyllis performed the ASL interpretation of Jewel’s rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXII.

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Cerebral Palsy Series-Disabled Legend Anne McDonald

Anne McDonald is an Australian author and an activist for the rights of people with communication disability. As a result of a birth injury she developed severe athetoid cerebral palsy. Anne was diagnosed as having severe intellectual disability and at the age of three was placed by her parents in St. Nicholas Hospital, Melbourne, a Health Commission (government) institution for people with severe disability, and lived there without education or therapy for eleven years. Anne wrote her story in Annie’s Coming Out, a book she co-authored with Rosemary Crossley in 1980 (the film Annie’s Coming Out based on the book won several Australian Film Institute awards and was released in the U.S. under the title Test of Love).

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