Wife: Dean Bray
Hometown: Mesa, Arizona
Age: 53 Years
Some Lesser Known Facts About Troy Kotsur
- Troy Kotsur is an American actor and film and stage director who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on March 27, 2022 for playing Frank Rossi in the American film ‘Coda’ (2021), becoming the first male actor to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Deaf actor to win Oscar.
- Kotsur grew up as the only deaf member of his family. When he was just nine months old, his parents were diagnosed with hearing loss. In an interview, sharing how his mother discovered his deafness, he said,
I was in the crib when my mother spoke after me but I didn’t answer…she came back from the kitchen with two pans. He banged very loudly but I still didn’t hear it.”
- After discovering their son was deaf, Kotsur’s parents began taking American Sign Language (ASL) lessons to assist Kotsur to develop communication skills.
- When Troy was 7 years old, his younger brother, Brett Kotsur, drowned in their backyard swimming pool. Brett remained underwater for about forty minutes before being rescued. Unfortunately, the incident caused severe brain damage and dysfunction in Brett after which he had to be on a ventilator for the rest of his life. Brett died at the age of 21.
- At the age of eight, Kotsur was charmed by an American epic space film from the Star Wars trilogy. Mesmerized by the visuals and costumes, Kotsur watched the film over 28 times. Talking about the Star Wars movie in an interview, he said,
It was so visual, the costumes, it blew me away. I’ve seen it over and over again. And that gave me hope that someday I can make a film. ,
- Although he was interested in acting at a very young age, he first took to the stage after attending Westwood High School. Kotsur’s drama teacher at Westwood High, Jay Jones, encouraged him to do a pantomime skit on a senior variety show. His passion for acting was sparked by the standing ovation he received after his electrifying performance.
- Apart from participating in skits and plays, he also played varsity basketball during his high days.
- When Troy was 17, his father, Lane, suffered a serious car accident that left his body paralyzed from the neck down. After the horrific accident, a communication gap arose between father and son as Lane could no longer do ASL to communicate with Troy. Lane died in 2001.
- Thereafter, he served as an editor at KTSP-TV (now KSAZ-TV).
- In 1989, while attending Gallaudet University, he appeared in his first play, Susan Zader’s In a Room Somewhere, directed by Victor Brown.
- In an interview, Kotsur spoke about the early struggles in the entertainment industry and said,
During auditions, I usually never get the role because most of the time they would ask, “Can you speak?” And of course another actor could speak better than me, because I’m completely deaf and that can be a challenge… I was doing it the old fashioned way in the 90s: I got $300 worth of envelopes and Had to buy tickets and send these headshots to 300 different casting directors, and out of that, I could get an audition. ,
- While studying at Gallaudet University, he had the opportunity to work with the touring company of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf called Sunshine Two, where he worked from 1990 to 1991.
- Thereafter, he joined the National Theater of the Deaf (NTD) for two years, touring with the plays Treasure Island (1991–1992) and Ophelia (1992–1993).
- In 1993, he made an acquaintance with Dean Bray when he moved to NTD in Chester, Connecticut, where Kotsur was working as an actor. The couple started dating in 1997. American actress Dean Bray best known for playing title role in PAX TV’s Canadian-American TV series Sue Thomas: FBEE (2002–2005).
- In 1994, he joined the Deaf West Theatre, Los Angeles, where he participated in several productions, acting and directing.
- In 1997, she starred in the ASL adaptation of Lyle Kessler’s theatrical production Orphan, co-starring with American deaf artist Chuck Baird.
- Other popular theatrical productions in which he appeared include “A Streetcar Named Desire” as Stanley, “Of Mice and Men” as Lenny, and “True West” as Lee. As a stage director at the Deaf West Theatre, he directed ASL adaptations of several plays such as Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, I, Aesop Who?, The Giving Tree, Three Musketeers, Lone Star, Where’s the Cross.
- From 2002 to 2005, he played the recurring role of Troy Myers in the Canadian-American TV series Sue Thomas: FBEE. In the show, Troy Myers is a deaf car thief who later becomes an informer for protagonist Sue Thomas.
- Other American TV series in which he appeared include The Doctor (2003), CSI: NY (2006), and Scrubs (2007).
- Following her film debut in 2007, Kotsur starred in the 2009 documentary See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainer Documentary.
- In 2011, he came into limelight with the musical drama Big River, in which he played the signature role of Pap, the alcoholic father of Huckleberry Finn. The play, based on Mark Twain’s novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, was staged at the American Airlines Theater in New York City. In Broadway shows, each role was portrayed by a combination of actors listening and signing. In the play, Kotsur played the signature role of Papp, alongside listening American actor Lyle Kanaus.
- He gained popularity with a titular role in the ASL adaptation of Stephen Sachs’ play ‘Cyrano’ (2012). A Deaf West Theater production, the play tells the story of a brilliantly deaf poet named Cyrano who falls in love with a beautiful hearing woman named Roxy. As the story unfolds, Roxy, who doesn’t understand sign language, falls in love with Cyrano’s listening brother, Chris.
- In 2012, he appeared in the episode “The Silencer” of the American police procedural crime drama ‘Criminal Minds’. In the episode, he played John Myers, an escaped prisoner who sews up the mouths of his victims.
- The production team of “Criminal Minds” took a remarkable step in Hollywood casting by rewriting the character of John Myers from a deaf role to a completely deaf one in this episode so that they could hire a deaf actor. The casting director of the show saw Troy Kotsur on stage in the hit play ‘Cyrano’ at the Fountain Theatre. Impressed by Kotsur’s performance, the casting director convinced the show team to change the episode’s role from a hearing character to a deaf character, so that they could hire Kotsur.
- His directorial debut, No Ordinary Hero: The Superdefy Movie (2013), premiered at the Heartland Film Festival. In the film, a deaf actor named Tony Kane, who plays a superhero on TV, saves an eight-year-old boy named Jacob from bullying at school.
- In 2015, Kotsur starred in another major drama of his career, Spring Awakening, which earned him a nomination for the LA Drama Critics Circle Award (2015).
- He received immense appreciation for playing the role of James Hansen in the indie drama film ‘Wild Prairie Rose’. The film’s central character, Rose, returns to her rural hometown to help her ailing mother and falls in love with James, a deaf man.
- In 2017, he starred in several theatrical productions at Deaf West Theaters such as Our Town, American Buffalo and Edward Alby’s At Home at the Zoo.
- In the same year, he starred in the short film Father’s Day Breakfast as Stephen, a deaf father of his hearing son Michael. The short film chronicles the journey of a father-son duo as they struggle to demonstrate their love for each other.
- For the 2018 romantic drama “Arrival and Departure” directed by Stephen Sachs, Kotsur partnered with his wife Dean Bray. The drama follows two married strangers who accidentally meet in a New York City subway station and innocently fall into a relationship.
- In the Star Wars franchise’s live-action TV series The Mandalorian (2019), Kotsur played a Tuscan raider belonging to a tribe of nomads on the planet Tatooine. In addition to appearing in the series, Kotsur also developed a fictional sign language for Tuscans.
- Kotsur’s breakout role came in the coming-of-age comedy-drama film ‘Koda’ (2021), in which he played Frank Rossi, a deaf fisherman who struggles to relate to his teenage daughter, Ruby. In the film, Ruby is the only hearing member of her family who wants to pursue a career in music instead of joining her father’s business.
- In addition to being the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar, he is also the first deaf person to win an individual Screen Actors Guild Award.
- Kotsur has a pet dog named Stella. He posts many pictures with Stella on his Instagram account.
- In a Facebook post, Dean Bray shared a fun fact about his marriage to Kotsur and revealed that he married her twice, first in September 2001 and again in November 2001. However, she did not mention the reason behind the marriage.