Marlee Matlin recently shared the story about how Henry Winkler and his wife opened up their home to her. Marlee is an actress who won an Oscar at the young age of 21. It was her first-ever movie role in Children of a Lesser God. Not only is she the youngest winner in Oscar history, but the first deaf Oscar winner.
Marlee lost her hearing when she was 18 months old. She is currently starring in the Apple TV+ film CODA (stands for Child of Deaf Adults). Marlee opened up about the Winklers and living with them. They actually met when she was only 12 years old.
Marlee Matlin talks about living with the Winklers
Henry once said, “Stacey and I went to a talent show at this place. A young girl came out, 12 years old, couldn’t hear, and danced to a song from The Pajama Game. And Stacey and I wept, not because it was a little girl dancing who couldn’t hear, but because her spirit jumped out of her body and into everyone’s hearts. You couldn’t miss it if you had a pulse.” Marlee added, “I went up to him and I said, ‘Hi, I’m Marlee, and I want to be an actor in Hollywood, just like you.’ And he said, ‘Sure. Don’t let anyone tell you no.’ And eight years later, I was standing on a stage with an Oscar.”
After Marlee won her Oscar, she was in rehab and was a little bit lost. Henry revealed, “Cut to, there is a knock on the door. It’s Marlee. And she said, ‘Look, I just left my boyfriend. I have no place. Can I just stay with you for two days?’ Two-and-a-half years later, she finally moved out.”
Marlee said they helped her with her professional and personal life and set her up with meetings. They also had dinner together every night. She said, “All the way, I was trying to respect their boundaries as a family, because I was living in the guest house, but they always insisted that I join them for meals. And at the same time, they always gave me words of support and advice. After dinner, Henry and I would sit there over his glass of tea, and he always made sure that my dates were appropriate that came to pick me up.”
She added that the Winklers are “one of the most loveliest families you’ll ever, ever meet. Accommodating, genuine. You couldn’t find a more genuine family in Hollywood.”