The actor most recently made history as the first deaf man in history to win an Academy Award. He was recognized for his supporting turn in Sian Heder’s “CODA,” a warm-hearted drama about the only hearing member of a deaf family. “CODA” went on the capture the prize for best picture.
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Kotsur studied theater, television and film at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., and left after two years to join the Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles, where he starred in productions that included “Cyrano,” “Of Mice and Men” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” He was nominated for a 2015 LA Drama Critics Circle Award for the Deaf West Theatre production of “Spring Awakening” and appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award-nominated ASL (American Sign Language) production of “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” In addition to appearing in TV series including “CSI: NY,” “Scrubs” and “Criminal Minds,” Kotsur also adapted a form of sign language to play a Tusken Raider in the 2019 Disney+ show “The Mandalorian,” becoming the first Deaf actor to appear in a “Star Wars” production. He directed his first film, “No Ordinary Hero,” in which he portrayed a deaf actor who plays a superhero in a TV show who is forced to start believing in himself. In a cover story with Variety, Kotsur spoke about his ambitions.
“We’ve had such a rich history in the Deaf community,” Kotsur said. “We’ve had tragedy, we’ve had success, but no one knows about these stories. They’ve been ignored for so long. I want to bring forth this treasure trove of storytelling.
Kotsur continues to be represented by Mark Finley at Metric Talent and attorney Logan Clare of Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.
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