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People - Deanne Bray - Deaf Actress and Television Star

The "Next" Marlee Matlin?

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Updated May 04, 2009

Deanne Bray in 2002

Deanne Bray in 2002

Photo: Keith Bedford / Getty Images

It was bound to happen. For years now, deaf actors have made guest appearances or recurring appearances on television programs. Now Hollywood is comfortable enough with deaf people on the screen that they have started to build entire television programs around deaf people. And they started with Deanne Bray.

Bray starred in Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye on the Pax channel. The show was a bona fide hit, and Bray received rave reviews for her acting. She got her role when the real-life Sue Thomas saw her audition tape (Bray had to compete with both deaf and hearing actresses to win the role), and decided Bray had the right combination of characteristics to play Sue Thomas.

Deanne Bray's Deafness

  • Bray grew up deaf since birth (May 14, 1971) and uses one hearing aid.
  • Bray learned to talk.
  • Bray used sign language.

Deanne Bray's Acting Career

Sue Thomas was not Bray's first foray into acting. She already had a fairly impressive acting resume:

  • Bray was involved with the Non-Traditional Casting Project and Greater Los Angeles Council on Deafness.
  • Bray was involved with deaf theater (Deaf West Theatre).
  • Bray had made guest appearances on television movies and programs.
  • Bray had hosted a deaf program, "Caption This."

Deanne Bray's Off-Screen Life

Bray has been a science and math teacher for deaf high school students, and is pursuing a master's degree in education (probably on hold while she performs in Sue Thomas). A strong literacy advocate, she established "The Little Bookworm Club" to promote literacy. Her husband is deaf actor Troy Kotsur, and he made a guest appearance on the program's "The Signing" episode.

Deanne Bray's Website

Deanne Bray has her own website, DeanneBray.com. Bray's website has a biography, a photo gallery that includes the real Sue Thomas, and a list of acting credits. Unfortunately it appears that the site has not been updated since 2002.

Sue Thomas has ended, but I expect we will be seeing more of Deanne Bray.

About visitors were happy with the show, as can be seen from this comment:

I am very pleased that you could make a show that portrays a deaf person's real life struggles in the hearing world. My husband is deaf and he is a mechanic for a rental company here. He was born eaf and has had to deal with his handicap his whole life. He knows how difficult it is to make it in the hearing world. We know that some times the hearing community can be cruel. I am not deaf nor am I hard of hearing so I see the struggles he has gone through and know how frustrating it can be. I am glad that Pax put out a show with a real deaf actress, who portrays a FBI agent. We watch the show every Sunday that it is on and on Mondays when ever it is on the air. My husband also uses his lip reading skills 99.9% of the time. My husband would also like to know the phone Sue Thomas uses during the show. How do you get a hpone like that, and where would you get one in our area. When he goes to work he deals with customers everyday and also talks on a special phone that we purchased for him it has an amplifier on the line.

Did you enjoy Sue Thomas? Read the discussion on Deanne Bray and read an interview with Deanne Bray-Kotsur.

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