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      NYTimes "Obituaries & Others: Who lived more than 100-year-old"
                                                 No.14                                     
                                 (New York Times, November 2,  2018)      
  "Bernard Bragg, Who Showed the Way for Deaf Actors, Dies at 90"  

            (NYTimes Obituaries      "Bernard Bragg(Photos)"
                                 (The 54-photo-attached/198.72KB)

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         "Bernard Bragg, Who Showed the Way for Deaf Actors, Dies at 90"
                                           By Neil Genzlinger

                            Image result for Bernard Bragg, Who Showed the Way for Deaf Actors
Bernard Bragg, a trailblazer for deaf performers who in 1967 became a founder of the National Theater of the Deaf in Connecticut, died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 90.

The actress Marlee Matlin, a longtime friend, confirmed his death.

Mr. Bragg, who was born deaf to deaf parents, began carving out a performing career in the late 1950s after studying with the mime Marcel Marceau. He appeared at clubs in the San Francisco area like the hungry i, working in a style of his own invention he called sign mime, which combined elements of American Sign Language with the tools of mime.

                                  
In the mid-1960s he joined up with Edna Simon Levine, a psychologist who worked with the deaf and for some time had been thinking about a professional company of deaf actors, and David Hays, a set and lighting designer. Together they formed the National Theater of the Deaf, which gave its first public performance in 1967 at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

The company won a special Tony Award in 1977.

Mr. Bragg performed with it for 10 years, including in several Broadway shows, before becoming a visiting professor at his alma mater, Gallaudet University in Washington, which serves deaf and hard-of-hearing students. A 1979 article in The Washington Post called him “the man who invented theater as a professional career for the deaf.”

One who followed the career path that Mr. Bragg opened up was Ms. Matlin, an Oscar winner for the 1986 film “Children of a Lesser God.”

“I have known Mr. Bragg since I was 8 years old, when I took a class which he was teaching at Chicago’s Center for Deafness,” she said by email. “Always curious and always with questions, particularly because he was the first Deaf person I had met who was an actor, I remember asking him, ‘Can I be an actor like you?’ To which he responded with a warm smile, ‘Yes, you can!’ That stuck with me.”

Bernard Nathan Bragg was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 27, 1928, to Wolf and Jennie (Stoloff) Bragg. His father had created an amateur acting group for deaf performers.

One who followed the career path that Mr. Bragg opened up was Ms. Matlin, an Oscar winner for the 1986 film “Children of a Lesser God.”

“I have known Mr. Bragg since I was 8 years old, when I took a class which he was teaching at Chicago’s Center for Deafness,” she said by email. “Always curious and always with questions, particularly because he was the first Deaf person I had met who was an actor, I remember asking him, ‘Can I be an actor like you?’ To which he responded with a warm smile, ‘Yes, you can!’ That stuck with me.”

Bernard Nathan Bragg was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 27, 1928, to Wolf and Jennie (Stoloff) Bragg. His father had created an amateur acting group for deaf performers.

With deaf parents and a deaf aunt and uncle living in the same building, Mr. Bragg was surrounded by sign language. In “Lessons in Laughter: An Autobiography of a Deaf Actor” (1989), he recalled the revelatory moment when, as a little boy, he was sent to the store with a note and money to buy his mother cigarettes.

“I gave the coin and the note to the proprietor and he looked at me and started to move his mouth,” Mr. Bragg wrote. “He did not sign at all, and I became visibly disconcerted by the strange movements of his mouth under his heavy mustache.”

The man read the note and gave him the cigarettes, and he went back to his fifth-floor apartment.

“It was thus that I made the discovery of my deafness, all by myself,” Mr. Bragg wrote.

He graduated from the New York School for the Deaf in 1947 and enrolled at what was then Gallaudet College, studying theater there and acting in school plays. Though he enjoyed performing, there was no obvious career path in show business for a deaf person; instead he took a teaching job at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, occasionally performing skits and directing small shows at conventions and clubs for the deaf. Then, in 1956, he made a life-changing trip to see Marceau perform in San Francisco.
                                    

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