Actress Marlee Matlin headlining “The Women’s Event” at the Ritz Carlton


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

Talk about a do-over.

Two years ago, the programs were printed, the menu set and everything was going as planned. The Women’s Event—a nonprofit organization that raises funds for cancer research, prevention, and care—was set to host its second annual “Women’s Dinner,” featuring Academy award-winning actress and activist Marlee Matlin as the celebrity speaker.

Then the world stopped. Just a month before the event, COVID forced the cancellation of everything.

Now, The Women’s Event gets its long-awaited do-over. The programs are printing, the menu is set, and Marlee Matlin, will indeed be headlining the Women’s Dinner, April 5th a the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Clayton. Proceeds will benefit local efforts to battle cancer.

The evening includes dinner, a silent auction, and Matlin. Tickets are $175 per person and are available at

Bringing back the Women’s Dinner

“I’ve been holding my breath,” said Executive Director Margie Price. “It’s our first event back, and I hope it does well. I have no idea how many people will come, but I know we’re going to make a difference.”

The first Women’s Dinner was a huge success, says Price. Deborah Norville headlined the first dinner in 2019. “It was a dream. Everything went so well, and we hoped the second one would be an even bigger hit, but then everything shut down.”

But, as the world began to open up, Price and the board of the Women’s Event decided now was the time to get moving again, and bring the long-awaited 2nd annual Women’s Event back to life.

“Women have grit, and they pull it out whenever they have to,” said Price, who moved quickly to put together a new event committee chaired by Jill Mannis, a longtime member of Congregation Shaare Emeth. “There is no limit to what women can do.”

And, few women are as much a testament to “no limits,”  as Marlee Matlin.

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin made history in 1986 as both the youngest actress to win an Academy Award for Best Leading Actress and the first deaf person to win the award. Matlin lost her hearing when she was eighteen months old. Despite this, she challenged herself both in life and acting, making her stage debut in a children’s version of the Wizard of Oz at age seven and reading Torah at her bat mitzvah.

Her stage performances led to her discovery by TV actor Henry Winkler, who became her mentor. At age 21 she played the lead role in Children of a Lesser God, for which she won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar. Matlin flourished in strong female roles that reflected the way deaf people spoke: a mixture of sign language and spoken dialogue.

She earned critical praise and award nominations for her recurring roles on shows like Picket FencesSeinfeldLaw & Order: SVUThe PracticeThe L Word, and West Wing. In 2008 she competed on Dancing with the Stars. Matlin wrote a novel, Deaf Child Crossing, in 2002 and a memoir, I’ll Scream Later, in 2009. That year, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Now, more than 35 years after her Oscar win, Matlin is once again a part of the Oscar buzz. Matlin’s CODA co-star Troy Kotsur is nominated for Best Supporting Actor this year — one of the film’s three Oscar nominations, including Best Picture — and the cast is fresh off a surprise win for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at this year’s SAG Awards.