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Terrylene, a Deaf Actress

By July 26, 2007

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She may not be as prominent as Marlee Matlin, but Terrylene is building quite an acting resume. Have you seen Terrylene perform in any of her roles on stage or screen?

July 27, 2007 at 12:24 am
(1) Cy says:

Terrylene has been a well known actress for years, right along with Marlee Matlin, although MM starred on the big screen, and Terrylene did not. Actually, the role of Sarah of “The Children Of Lesser God” was offered to Terrylene first – she was the better known actress at the time. However, when Terrylene learned there was a nude scene in the script, she balked. Marlee got the role. Several of Terrylene’s pals from MSSD got roles in that movie as students. Terrylene has appeared in numerous TV shows and made for TV movies, although she has yet to appear in a box office movie. In fact, as far as I know, only two other Deaf actors have appeared in a box office movie are Ty Giardino, one of the actor who played Finn in “The Big River” and Troy Kostur. Both had rather small roles, and Troy had a non-speaking role. Haven’t watched the one with Ty, so I don’t know what his role is. Both got leads into big screen movies thanks to their acting roles in “The Big River” in which both traveled extensively and were well recognized and acclaimed for their acting skills. Troy played dual character in the play. Terrylene hadn’t the same opportunities. Perhaps one day she will hit big. Who knows?

July 27, 2007 at 6:12 am
(2) martha says:

I admit I don’t know Terrylene. What is her last name? Do you have a picture of her?

July 27, 2007 at 10:41 am
(3) Dianrez says:

Terrylene, ironically, did nude scenes in a later movie, After Image. This movie also starred Louise Fletcher, an Academy award winning actress for her role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and who is a CODA herself.

The setting for After Image was in Rochester, NY where there are many picturesque, Victorian homes that lent themselves well to the dark, mysterious atmosphere of the movie. Those who know and love Rochester will love this movie also for its magnificient locaion cinematography which sets off Terrylene’s acting talents. Unfortunately, its first release is not captioned, go figure.

July 27, 2007 at 1:05 pm
(4) Jean Boutcher says:

How old was Terrylene when she was offered the role of Sarah in “Children of a Lesser God” more than 20 years ago?

July 27, 2007 at 2:22 pm
(5) Katherine says:

Martha, Terrylene is known as just Terrylene by the Deaf community. Her last name is hardly revealed and I forgot already what it is :)

The movie, “Children of Lesser God” was created after a successful Broadway played by Phyllis Frelich. Her performance was so fabulous that she could have played as Sarah in the movie, but because of her age, they had to opt for a younger actress.

Now, the difference between Marlee and Terrylene is that before “Children of a Lesser God,” Terrylene is well known among many in the Deaf community across the United States.

July 27, 2007 at 7:49 pm
(6) Cy says:

Terrylene’s last name is Theriot. She is a DOD. She comes from a family with several generations of Deaf members, mainly immigrated from Mexico, but Terrylene and her brother, Terry Theriot, and 3 younger siblings are all American-born. Both Terrylene and Terry graduated from MSSD. The two other, I recall, attended CSDR, but don’t know if either graduated there. The youngest is a CODA.


Terrylene was only 16 or 17, pretty young, when offered the role of Sarah, thus why she balked at stripping naked. Marlee was several years older – I believe she was around 18 or 19. I guess Terrylene gained strength as an actress and was able to rise to that challenge in the other movie.

Marlee said as much in the PBS movie, “Through Deaf’s Eyes;” She said she awaited to hear from the producers of “Children of Lesser God.” They called her and asked her just one question: “Can you do a nude scene?” Marlee replied, “I am an actress. I do whatever I need to do as an actress.” Within the hour, they offered her the Sarah role. Apparently it was important to the producers to keep the nude scene in the script. If they had made changes in the script to accommodate Terrylene, it probably would have been Terrylene receiving the Oscar instead of Marlee. More likely, Terrylene would not have spoken at the Oscars.

July 30, 2007 at 2:05 pm
(7) Margaret A-T. from Seattle says:

I have seen her in CSI: Las Vegas. she was actress there with my favorite TV program.Terrylene must be loose weight when she was actress for Children of Lesser God.
I like her and it is really good performance with CSI.. she’s really best !!! I am not amazed she is kind of became famous. Terrylene has not start to became famous as Marlee. but I am not famous as my mom’s third cousin who was famous TV movie. it was Greta Garbo. I don’t wish to be famous as my mom’s third cousin.. Greta doesnt have her own children if she do have a kids. I would be her chilren as my fourth cousin. Greta choose to not have a children at all.



July 31, 2007 at 9:57 pm
(8) V.B. says:

I’ve followed Terrylene’s career since her MSSD days when I worked at Gally. My favorite was her role along side Robert Downey Jr. in “Natural Born Killers”.

August 1, 2007 at 8:05 am
(9) Jcg says:

I have only seebn terrilyn in a few roles theough the years I must say that I am sorry I missed her performance I CSI
Las vegas but I do remeber other shows I have seen her in she is a very talented actress signed a fan

August 1, 2007 at 1:18 pm
(10) Susan says:

If I remember correctly she played a part in Beauty and Beast series.

August 22, 2007 at 11:39 am
(11) Robin says:

Once, I watched Terrylane’s performance here and already spoke her in person. She is wonderful actress and does for the deaf community!

October 29, 2007 at 3:11 pm
(12) Terrylene says:

It was so sweet reading all of the emails. I would like to clarify, before I do. I would like to comment that I have met Greta Garbo. It was such a blessing to have met her. She was so beautiful in spirit, a natural beauty, and a great actress, of course.
I learned later on, that the director Rhanda Haines had wanted me for the role of sarah and fought for me, but the producers wanted Marlee. They thought that I made William Hurt look like a grandfather. I looked young back then,and I still do look young for my age. Thankfully,that is a plus for the acting profession. (smile) So, that is how I came so close in doing Sarah. I am happy to report that I will be in several films coming up within a year and on. Please visit my website to keep up with my career news. I thank each one of you for commenting on me and for your support towards my career. I wish you many blessings.

January 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm
(13) Ron says:

I was in the play “Children of a Lesser God” at the Des Moines Playhouse in 1988.

October 20, 2009 at 2:03 pm
(14) surprenia says:

i think ive seen yu in c.s.i las vegas.. but did acting come easy to yu or was it a challenge??

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