Actress Marlee Matlin Raises a Million Dollars for the Starkey Hearing Foundation

Actress Marlee Matlin joined Donald Trump’s hit TV reality show, “Celebrity Apprentice.” On the episode that aired April 3rd, Marlee took on the role of Project Manager for her all female team, Team A.S.A.P. The challenge was to create custom handmade pieces of art to sell in a gallery.

Project Manager, John Rich, along with the men of Team Backbone, raised a very impressive amount of over $600,000. The women’s team raised just $14,000 short of one million dollars! Trump tossed a donation of $14,000 so that the donation to Matlin’s charity, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, would total one million dollars.

Another challenge the celebrities faced was to each design a hat that was to be sold at the gallery. The hats were judged and the winner, La Toya Jackson, received $25,000 to give to her charity, AIDS Project L.A. Jackson’s hat was of a depiction of her brother Michael Jackson’s glove. Jackson also gave her personal shirt which was a gift from her brother Michael and one of only two like it, to their cause, which in turn sold for ninety nine thousand dollars.

Although Team A.S.A.P. won the challenge, Trump allowed the money that Team Backbone raised to go to their project manager, John Rich‘s charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Nevertheless, someone on the team was to be fired and it was Richard Hatch.

Matlin became deaf at 18 months old. At 21 years old, Matlin was the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar for her starring role in the movie, “Children of a Lesser God.” She has also been nominated twice for both a Golden Globe and a People’s Choice Award, as well as two nominations for her guest appearances on “Seinfeld” and “Picket Fences.” Matlin is the author of several books as well.

The Starkey Hearing Foundation has helped hundreds of thousands hear better. “The donation received from ‘The Celebrity Apprentice‘ will be utilized to fund Starkey hearing missions throughout 2011 in order to provide more adults and children in need with free hearing devices. Currently there are Starkey Hearing missions planned for this spring in Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Israel and New York City. According to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, the $1,000,000 will provide much needed funding for the Foundation to get closer to its goal of one million free hearing aids in this decade” (Starkey Press Release).

Matlin was joined on the show by fellow A.S.A.P team members: Hope Dworaczyk, La Toya Jackson, Star Jones and NeNe Leakes. Team Backbone was comprised of Project Manager, John Rich with Richard Hatch, Lil Jon, Meat Loaf, Mark McGrath and Gary Busey. Backbone team member, Jose Canseco had to leave the show before the challenge, because his father’s illness had taken a turn for the worse. Trump gave Canseco $25,000 for his charity, B.A.T. (Baseball Assistance Team) which primarily provides financial assistance for medical coverage to baseball players and their families in need.


Celebrity Apprentice on NBC.

Starkey Hearing Foundation:

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The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!


  1. gee says

    Marlee is one of my inspirations. Being deaf and acting and being on a reality show like the Apprentice must be really dificult and to get an Academy Award, that’s just amazing. Marlee, seeing you on the Apprentice makes me really admire you. I saw you talk in the episode where you had to advertise those video phones, you have a beautiful voice. You are a true inspiration to me and I hope to meet you one day. All the best girl!! xxxx

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