I'll Scream Later

I'll Scream Later

by Marlee Matlin

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
Want a NOOK ? Explore Now


I'll Scream Later by Marlee Matlin

Critically acclaimed and award-winning actress Marlee Matlin reveals the illuminating, moving, and often surprising story of how she defied all expectations to become one of the most prolific and beloved actresses of our time.

Marlee Matlin entered our lives as the deaf pupil turned custodian audiences fell in love with in Children of a Lesser God, a role for which she became the youngest woman ever to win a Best Actress Oscar. More than twenty years after her stunning big screen debut, the Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated actress is an inspirational force of nature -- a mother, an activist, and a role model for millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing people around the world.

In I'll Scream Later, Marlee takes readers on the frank and touching journey of her life, from the frightening loss of her hearing at eighteen months old to the highs and lows of Hollywood, her battles with addiction, and the unexpected challenges of being thrust into the spotlight as an emissary for the deaf community. She speaks candidly for the first time about the troubles of her youth, the passionate and tumultuous two-year relationship with Oscar winner William Hurt that dovetailed with a stint in rehab, and her subsequent romances with heartthrobs like Rob Lowe, Richard Dean Anderson, and David E. Kelley.

Though she became famous at the age of twenty-one, Marlee struggled all her life to connect with people, fighting against anyone who tried to hold her back. Her own mother often hid behind their communication barrier, and Marlee turned to drugs before she even started high school. However, she found in acting -- with the encouragement of her mentor, Henry Winkler -- a discipline, a drive, and a talent for understanding the human condition that belied her age and her inability to hear. By the time Hollywood embraced her, she had almost no formal training, a fact that caused many other deaf actors to give her the cold shoulder, even as she was looked upon as a spokesperson for their community.

She has played memorable roles on wildly popular television shows such as Seinfeld, The West Wing, and The L Word, danced a show-stopping cha-cha-cha on Dancing with the Stars, and now, with uncompromising honesty and humor, Marlee shares the story of her life -- an enduring tale that is an unforgettable lesson in following your dreams.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439117637
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 04/14/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 569,026
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Marlee Matlin, deaf since she was eighteen months old, won the
Academy Award and the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in
Children of a Lesser God. She was nominated for Emmy Awards for
her performances in Seinfeld, Picket Fences, The
, and Law&Order: SVU. Her film credits include
It's My Party and What the Bleep Do We Know!? She is the
author of Deaf Child Crossing. She has made numerous television
appearances and currently appears on The L Word. Marlee Matlin
lives in Los Angeles with her husband and four children. Visit her at

Read an Excerpt


February 2, 1987, it's nearing dusk when my plane lands in Palm Springs. No one in my family is there to meet me. No friends. Just a stranger, an old man with a face that looks as if it has traveled a thousand miles of bad road. He smiles and waves in my direction. I'm sure he's seen countless like me before.

He seems kind, tries to be reassuring, but it still takes all of my strength to move toward him and his aging station wagon. He is a volunteer, the transportation of lost souls now one of his missions in life -- maybe a way to direct a little good karma back in his direction. I understand, I could use some myself.

I have never, ever felt more alone or more frightened in my life; it's as if sadness and despair have seeped deep into my bones.

He doesn't try to talk to me, and I wonder if he knows I am Deaf or just senses that I'm too emotionally fragile to talk. Either way he's right. I have no words right now. I am as close to broken as I've ever been. We head out into the fading light for a fifteen-minute drive that feels endless, the one that will take me to the Betty Ford Center, specializing in treating alcohol and drug addiction, in nearby Rancho Mirage.

My name is Marlee Matlin, and at this moment I am twenty-one years old and at the very beginning of an unexpectedly promising acting career. I've also managed to pack a few other things into those years -- among them a serious addiction to both pot and cocaine. Then there's my two-year relationship with actor William Hurt, which has gone from passionate and troubled to dangerously difficult and codependent.

The sun sets as we pull up to the front of the center, BFC to anyone who's spent time there. The building looks imposing, not welcoming, but I can see through its expanse of windows that a light is on inside.

It should have been the best time of my life. And in a surreal way it was. Almost exactly forty-eight hours earlier and a world away in the bright lights and red-carpet glitz of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, I had won a Golden Globe as Best Actress for my performance as Sarah Norman, the profoundly Deaf and profoundly angry young woman who finds herself and love in the film Children of a Lesser God.

I stood on the stage that night in a simple black dress I'd found a few days earlier, no speech, looking down into a sea of faces. So many of the actors whose careers I'd been awed by were applauding me. I had won in a category that included Anne Bancroft, Sigourney Weaver, Julie Andrews, and Farrah Fawcett -- all Hollywood veterans. I was dizzy with happiness. I felt humbled, unable to quite believe this was truly happening. To the rest of the world it must have seemed that everything was going my way. My very first film had come with a celebrated costar in William Hurt, who quickly became my mentor and my lover, and not in that order. For the most part the critics had been exceedingly kind to the film, it was doing good business at the box office both in the United States and overseas, which always makes the studio bosses happy, and now the Golden Globes had officially launched the movie, and me with it, into the Oscar race.

Though much of my life was falling apart, for that one night I was able to put all the problems and the pain aside and let the extraordinary evening wash over me. I don't know whether it's fate or karma or just me, but for every momentous time in my life -- good or bad -- it seems the gods always throw in something for comic relief. On the way up to the podium to accept my Golden Globe, I looked down and realized that one of the Lee press-on nails that I'd glued on and painted bright red earlier that day had come off. Instead of thinking about what I would say, my only thought was how in the world could I sign and hide that broken nail!

But once I hit the stage, that thought flew from my mind. All I could think about was how grateful I was to be recognized in this way. And that is essentially what I signed. Short, simple, heartfelt.

The walk backstage to the pressroom, Golden Globe in hand, was amazing, overwhelming. My heart was pounding, I swear I could feel each beat, hundreds of strobe lights were going off in my face, photographers were screaming my name until Whoopi Goldberg flung her arms around me, gave me a squeeze, and said with no small irony to the crowd, "Hey, guys, she's Deaf, she can't hear you."

But photographers are a hungry bunch -- a really great shot puts steak on the table and a Mercedes in the driveway -- so it didn't take long for them to figure out the trick to getting my attention. So the shouts were replaced by waving hands, and I twisted and turned and smiled as the hands in front of me waved wildly.

That night I went back to my room at the L'Ermitage hotel and closed the door on Hollywood -- at least for a time.

On the other side of that door, the Oscar campaign for the movie was getting ready to kick into overdrive. I had no idea how Oscar season worked in Hollywood, all that it entailed. There was publicity to do, photo shoots to line up, magazine covers to consider, TV talk shows to book. There were calls from the studio, the media, old friends, new friends, agents.

The calls would go unanswered, the interviews would all be turned down, the photo shoots nixed. I had decided I was going to quietly disappear, leaving it to Jack Jason, my interpreter and increasingly the person I relied on to help with the business details of my life, to run interference for me. I told him to say no to everything -- though I was pretty much oblivious of how much that would be -- but to tell absolutely no one where I was or why I wasn't available. No exceptions.

I was lucky. Today in the world of rabid paparazzi and TMZ such discretion wouldn't be possible. But in 1987, only a handful of people knew where I was going -- my immediate family, Jack, and, of course Bill, whose own stint at Betty Ford was barely finished by the time I checked in.

It was hard enough to go into rehab, it was harder still that I had virtually no support for my decision. Bill was the only person encouraging me. Everyone else thought whatever problems I might have with drugs weren't all that serious, and, besides, didn't I realize my career was at stake?

In a seven-page letter that was typical of the pressure I was under from those closest to me, my dad wrote:

So you smoke pot -- big deal -- do you understand you are just starting a career and by checking into a hospital, can ruin your life.... Don't go to the Betty Ford clinic. You have something going for you -- don't throw it away -- don't waste it.

You missed a lot in life but maybe this little bit of fame can make up a small portion of what you missed.

This letter came as a follow-up to a huge fight my mother and I had over my decision to go into rehab. Even Jack, who was spending hours a day with me interpreting interviews and meetings, thought the timing was wrong and the problem wasn't that severe.

But it was. Consider January 9, 1987, one particularly memorable day of my life on drugs.

I was in Chicago at my parents' house and due to fly to California the next day to be with Bill at Betty Ford during Family Week as part of his rehab therapy. I knew deep inside that during the counseling sessions they would bust me about my drug use, so I tried to finish everything I had.

Here's an inventory of that day: I had a gram of coke, a half-ounce bag of pot, a pipe, rolling papers, and a bong. All by myself, I finished the coke but couldn't finish the pot; though I really tried, there was just too much. That doesn't even touch the emotional issues I had that were fueling my drug use.

I remember cleaning up my desk in a haze, finding anything that I could that was drug-related and throwing it all away. It was in my gut that this would be the last time I would ever use. But I knew, no matter how determined I was to keep drugs out of my life, I needed help.

Looking back on it now, I realize everything in my life up to that point -- my childhood, my family, my deafness, the obstacles, the opportunities, the friends and lovers, the molester and the abusers, the doctors and the teachers, and always the acting -- had all meshed to buy me a ticket on that forty-eight-hour roller-coaster ride in 1987. Forty-eight hours that delivered an amazing, drug-free high at the Golden Globes and an immeasurable low as I faced the entrance to Betty Ford and the hard work I knew I had ahead of me if I was to build a life of sobriety.

The intersection of these two events would change the way I would navigate life -- and the life I would have to navigate -- forever. Copyright © 2009 by Handjive Productions, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

I'll Scream Later 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
rans More than 1 year ago
interesting but it made me think Marlee's #1 is herself, not her family or anyone else
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a completely horrible book as far as biographies go. However, it was difficult getting through Marlee's seemingly love affair with herself. I am wondering why she felt it necessary to include quotes from acquaintances that lauded her in one way or another...seemed to me she was screaming, 'It's all about me...wow! I'm great, right?' The narcissistic nature of the book made it difficult for me to get through; as a matter of fact, I did not finish it, as it just dragged on and on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reads like a stream of consciousness piece and I liked that. I really felt that Marlee was talking and signing to me. A story of her amazing life. Brutally honest and at times quite brave, Marlee asks for no excuses, apologies or pity for who she is. She just lets us know, lets into her world for a little while. Sometimes the order is confusing but it can easily be over come. And it should as this is a fantastic story that should be shared with hearing, hard of hearing and Deaf alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the book and I can't wait what happen next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I initially had borrowed this for my ASL class. I was doing a project on her, and figured why not? I ended up being unable to put it down. It's a beautifully written portrait of a stubborn and strong-willed woman. Some people might find her too off-putting, but I see it more as determination. She had to fight a great deal of outside adversity and her own personal demons. A great, and rather inspirational journey. Must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a retired school librarian, biographies are my favorite.This book was extremely difficult to follow. Each chapter seems to be a short story sometimes connected with the previous and sometimes a chapter in the future. Disjointed and difficult to follow. It's more of a I did this, I did this, I did this.... She refers to her husband and kids before chronologically the reader is introduced to them. Sometimes in the same context of making love to the current boyfriend. Disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago