Marlee Matlin – a finalist on Sunday night’s finale of “Celebrity Apprentice” – already has her next gig lined up.
Hollywood’s best known deaf actress, who was recently forced to sell her house after being slapped with a $50,000 tax bill, will be making a multi-episode guest appearance on the new ABC Family series “Switched at Birth.”
The hour-long drama series about two teenagers who find out their were given to the wrong families as newborns, premieres June 6.
It’s a rare chance for her four children to see her at work, Matlin revealed when we caught up with her last weekend in Los Angeles.
You are not in the first episode. When do you come in?
I come in, in episode three. My character is Melody. She is a guidance counselor at the high school as well as a substitute basketball coach. Then I also am best friends with Regina (Constance Marie) on the show. The mother of Daphne (Katie Leclerc). As well as I am the mother of Daphne’s best friend, whose character’s name is Emmett. I am not sure where my character is going because I have only done three episodes so far.
What made you want to do this?
I am the mom of four kids. They finally get to see me do something that they can watch. You can understand all the stuff they can’t watch me on. They can’t watch me on “The L Word” that’s for sure. They can’t watch me on “Celebrity Apprentice” – I don’t want them watching that. Too much craziness on that show! And “The West Wing” probably would go above their heads. This is one show that I think they would like to watch. Also, what better way than to be involved with a show that has to do with my culture, my community? Being part of the deaf community…
Did “Celebrity Apprentice” help you get this role?
I actually met with the producers before “Apprentice” was on the air. That was before I left for New York City in October. I met with them and took a look at the pilot. So one had nothing to do with the other. Hopefully, if we get picked up for a second season, we can bring more and more characters into the show that happen to be deaf.
Marlee and John toast being the final two:
Is your phone ringing more after “Celebrity Apprentice”?
The show is not over yet. You have to see how it ends.
Are you glad you did it?
It was a good thing I was deaf. Let me say that. (laughter) You know, the tones, the voices, the fighting… I would just look away. I wouldn’t even look at Jack (Jason, her longtime interpreter). I would just look away. It just got to be too much sometimes. So I tuned it out. But it was great because the most wonderful aspect of it was that beyond my imagination – but what I knew I could do – was to raise a million dollars in one day for my charity. That was the big accomplishment for me. That is why I went and did the show. Because it was for the deaf kids at the end of the day.
Is there one life lesson you got from “Celebrity Apprentice” that you have incorporated into you every day life?
I think what I really learned from the show was to listen to myself before I spoke. Really, really listen to myself. But also, the fact that because it is a collaborative effort, listen to other people to. A lot of people don’t. In terms of the tasks, we are talking about branding. We are talking about advertising. We are talking about directing. I really learned a lot about that. How to create an ad campaign. How to film a commercial. Now I know what goes on behind the scenes.
You are such an inspiration to so many. Do you have any message for your fans who might misunderstand what they might be reading about you in the papers?
Well, in terms of messages, and they have all been very supportive, all I can say is whatever is out there that is concerning or that somehow I am in trouble or whatever it may be, all I say is I am the one who is giving you the information. Just trust me. I have faults just like anybody else. But I whether through it just like I always have. And in the end up a stronger person for it.