On The Tube
From OurMind)/ 7b }burs
Hearing-impaired actor Shoshannah Stern gets
her first regular series, "Threat Matrix."
Special to the Jewish News
only name in town when it
came to filling parts for hear-
ing-impaired actresses. In fact, Matlin's
name was repeatedly invoked as a
means of discouraging Shoshannah
Stem from pursuing a lifelong dream.
"All my life people told rne, 'No, it's
not realistic. There's only one deaf char-
acter maybe every two years. We already
have Marlee Matlin. We can't have
another one,"' says the actress.
Stern, however, didn't take no for an
answer, and her determination paid off
with TV guest roles on Providence,
Boston Public, E.R. and (with Matlin)
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This season, Stern gets her first regu-
lar series role as Holly Brodeen, a mem-
ber of an elite government anti-terrorist
task force on ABC's Threat matrix.
"1 arn the visual inteTreter, trained by
the NSA (National Security Agency). I
analyze pictures and images ---- my tal-
ents are in analyzing satellites," explains
Stern through a sign language inter-
preter. "I'm able to really catch the
details of the visual images on the pic-
tures that other people can't."
It's a role created for her by the
drama's producers, after a director who'd
-worked with her on The I)ivision rec-
ommended her, and the part doesn't
make a big deal of her deafiless.
"Its part of who she is, and maybe I
will shape her choices, but its not about
being deaf, how she handles her deaf-
ness or how other people handle it,"
says Stem. "It's the closest character I've
played to myself, only I can't really work
Stern has some residual hearing and
uses a hearing aid at times. She can lip-
read, and has an interpreter with her on
the set. She isn't a candidate for (and
would not consider) the cochlear
implant surgery that helps some deaf
secure in my deafness and I see
no reason why I should try to cure it,"
she says, noting that its hereditary in
her family: she's fourth-generation deaf,
and both her parents and brother and
sister are deaf.
Born in Walnut Creek, Calif, Stern
was raised in Fremont, where she and
her siblings attended a school for the
cleaf that employed her parents as teacli;,
ers. "Because they were deaf and had
deaf parents themselves, they were able
to give me the guts to be able do some-
thing different, to work outside of the
box, she believes.
Her education continued at Gallaudet
University in -Washington D.C., a liber-
al arts school for the deaf, where she
majored in English and acted in plays.
"I had so many mentors," she says.
"They gave me support and they kept
ROLE PLAYING from page 81
characters in two upcoming films: a
suicidal young man in the black corn-
edy Max 6- Grace and a fellow who
tries to save his rundown neighbor-
hood in Kill the Poor.
Meanwhile, he's happily ensconced
in The Lyon's Den.
"It's nice to find something I like
and I'm proud of," he says. "Even if
this show, God forbid, doesn't make
it, I'm still happy that I made this
Fox premieres 9 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 20
Larry Goldman is a successful busi-
nessman and philanthropist who is
devoted to his wife and daughter. He
also happens to be a pornographer. That
intriguing dichotomy attracted veteran
actor Ron Silver to his latest TV project,
"He's not a lawyer, doctor, cop, inves-
tigator. It's not about procedures. All
those things are wonderful, but they
don't give you the chance to explore
characters," says Silver, whose credits
range from TV comedies (Rhoda,
Veronica.'s Closet) and dramas (Chicago
Hope, The West wing) to films (Ali,
Reversal of Fortune) and Broadway,
where he won a Tony for Speed the Plow.
Silver will have plenty to explore in
Skin, which finds Goldman's daughter in
a Romeo and Juliet-like romance with
the son of his biggest rival, D.A.
Thomas Roam (Kevin Anderson), who