This show never made it onto my regular viewing schedule, but I tuned in for this week’s Season 6 premiere of Dancing with the Stars because one of the stars is academy-award-winning actress Marlee Matlin. Marlee is extremely talented, absolutely gorgeous, and profoundly deaf.

I’m a hearing person who has spent several years studying American Sign Language. When I heard that Marlee would be one of the stars dancing on this show, I looked forward to seeing how they would handle communications between Marlee, her dancing partner, and the show’s hosts and judges. As it turns out, flawlessly. Marlee’s interpreter did a superb job, although listening to a male voice speak while she signs is a bit confusing at times.

I was also interested to see how a Deaf person would learn complicated dance steps and carry out them in time to music she cannot hear. Again, flawlessly! As she explained to her dancing partner, Fabian, “As a Deaf person, I use my body to communicate every day, so I think that’s a plus.”

But Marlee not only has to do the dance, she has to perform it. I thought she was amazing! The judges thought so, too. In his critique, Bruno told her, “You may not hear, but the music is running through your blood.” He then went on to tell her that he’d counted throughout the song, and she hardly missed a beat.

In Marlee’s own words . . . er, signs . . . she said, “I’m here on Dancing with the Stars to show people that just because you’re Deaf doesn’t mean you can’t dance.” And she sure did show them!

Yes, Dancing with the Stars has a new viewer and I’ll be watching as long as voters keep Marlee on the show.


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This sounds like a perfect match, Lee, given your interest in sign language.

And as a bonus, it’s starting up at just about the time some shows are winding up for the season so you could have some good viewing throughout the spring.

Have you ever thought about writing a novel with a deaf and/or TV-watching heroine? I bet you could come up with some stellar scenarios!



Rachel, I do have an idea for a YA novel with a Deaf character, but I have a lot of other projects to wrap up first.

I’m not sure about a character who watches a lot of TV – could be boring 😉 – but a heroine who writes a TV series might be fun.


Lee, my daughter is interested in becoming an ASL interpreter, so we were very interested in the show. Amazing Marlee and Fabian finished in first, ahead of Kristi Yamaguchi. This is my first season to watch it, too. You should definitely write a Deaf character (or maybe an hoh would fly better with readers).


Megan, you and your daughter might be interested in reading some of the books on this list of“ REL=”nofollow”>Deaf characters in romantic fiction. One of them is by Cathy McDavid, fellow Harlequin American Author!

I knew that the judges put Marlee and Fabian in third place but I somehow missed the results of the public vote. Very exciting that they’re first!

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