Actor Troy Kotsur, who won an Oscar for his work in CODA, will perform the national anthem with Chris Stapleton in American Sign Language (ASL). Deaf performers Colin Denny and Justina Miles will also be sharing the stage with Kotsur during the Super Bowl LVII event.

Kotsur is famed for his performance in CODA where he played the role of a fisherman and father. The actor is known for his skills as an ASL performer but many often question if he is deaf in real life. As a matter of fact, Kotsur is deaf since birth and is the first deaf actor to have won an Academy Award.

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Is Troy Kotsur deaf in real life?

Troy Kotsur is born in Arizona in 1968. When he was only nine months old, his parents discovered that he is deaf. However, Kotsur never let that disability stop him from pursuing his dreams. He became an inspiration in the deaf community after becoming the first deaf actor to win an Oscar in 2022.

Additionally, Kotsur has also worked extensively in theater and television. He even appeared in the famous 2012 TV Show Criminal Minds and the 2019 series The Mandalorian. He directed the 2013 American Drama No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie. Moreover, he worked in the documentary See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers.

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Kotsur learned American Sign Language so the family could communicate. He attended the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf where he began to gain interest in acting. After graduation, he began to aspire to direct films as well. However, he faced many challenges being a deaf person. Recalling his initial days in direction, he said, “My directing dream poofed after I accepted the fact that I lived in a world that did not use my language.”

Today, Kotsur along with two other deaf performers are invited to perform the National Anthem and other songs in American Sign Language. Speaking about the changes in the industry over deaf actors, he said, “I have seen a lot of positive change. Improvements and baby steps. I feel like more deaf actors are given more opportunities in several TV series and films”.