Who is Troy Kotsur?

The heart-touching music drama “CODA” (Child of Deaf Adults) premiered in August 2021, and immediately caught the attention of the audience. Its stars were Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, and Troy Kotsur.

Troy’s role brought him numerous accolades, including the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. Troy accepted his award in March 2022, and his Oscar speech was an inspiring message to the CODA community, the deaf and the disabled communities.

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His presenter was actress Youn Yuh-Jung; Troy ‘spoke’ in American Sign Language (ASL), and in his speech, he thanked his family and associates, and mentioned that the film crew was invited to the White House and that they’d met President Joe Biden.

Troy finished by raising the Oscar to the sky and thanking his late father, mother, and brother, adding that he loves them – the audience stood up and applauded silently.

Early life, family, and education

Troy Michael Kotsur was born in Mesa, Arizona USA, on 24 July 1968; Troy holds American nationality although he comes from a very mixed family heritage of Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, German, English, Irish and Scottish descent; as of 2022, he’s 54 years old.

His parents, JoDee and Leonard Stephen Kotsur, realized that Troy is deaf when he was nine months old, so to communicate with him, his family learned ASL. Troy had three brothers, Kevin, Brian, and Brett who unfortunately died aged 21. When Brett was four years old, he ‘drowned’ in a pool, and since he was too long under the water, he ended up with brain damage and dysfunctionality, and so until his death, he had to depend on a ventilator.

This wasn’t the only accident that happened to the Kotsur family. When Troy was 17, his father had a car accident, and although he survived, he was paralyzed from the neck down. This caused the inability to communicate with Troy, which both of them took hard.

Troy’s mother was a tailor, and his father was a police chief in Mesa. JoDee died in 2000, and Leonard died a year later.

As a child, Troy had enormous support from his parents, who encouraged him to play sports with hearing children, and to make friends with them.  He attended Phoenix Day School for the Deaf, and there he became interested in acting.

Troy continued his education at Westwood High School, where his drama teacher noticed his talent and his wish to act, so encouraged him to perform a pantomime skit. Seeing how the audience reacted positively, Troy was motivated to pursue an acting career in theatre.

Upon matriculating in 1986, he didn’t go to college, but began an internship at KTSP-TV, a Phoenix, Arizona television station, however, in the following year he enrolled at Gallaudet University where he studied theater, film and television. He didn’t graduate, but left in 1989 to pursue his acting career.

Acting career

Troy received an offer from the National Theatre of the Deaf, in Connecticut, which he accepted, and toured with the theatre for two years, performing in two plays.

Troy moved to Los Angeles, California, in the early ’90s, and began working for Deaf West Theatre. He directed and acted in several productions, including “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, and “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck.

One of his notable theater roles was his portrayal of Cyrano in the 2012 eponymous play “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand, which premiered at the Heartland International Film Festival, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Television and movie roles

Troy made his first television appearance as Lars in an episode of the series “Strong Medicine” in 2001, then had a recurring role as Troy Myers in the series “Sue Thomas: F. B. Eye” from 2002 until 2005.

Concurrently, Troy made an appearance in an episode of the series “Doc” (2003). He also guest-starred as Dennis Mitchum in “CSI: NY” in 2006.

Troy made his big-screen debut portraying Barnaby in the 2007 movie “The Number 23”, starring Jim Carrey. This crime drama followed the story of a man obsessed with a book that he believes was written about himself.

In the same year, Troy guest-starred in the popular comedy series “Scrubs”, and was seen as Luther in the documentary movie “I See The Crowd Roar: The Story of William Dummy Hoy”, a biographic drama about a boy who became a legend after changing the course of baseball forever.

In 2008, Troy was cast to play Chris in the drama “Universal Signs”, which won the Philadelphia Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature Film.

Troy’s next role came in an episode of the series “Criminal Minds” in 2012, after which he was seen as Matt in the 2013 family drama “No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie”, which he also directed.

Three years later, Troy portrayed James Hansen in the family drama “Wild Prairie Rose”, opposite Tara Samuel and Suanne Spoke. It is a love story between a deaf man and a girl who returned to her hometown to take care of her sick mother. She falls in love, but she must decide whether she has the bravery to follow her heart. The movie had six award nominations and won five.

In 2017, Troy was Stephen in the short drama “Father’s Day Breakfast” directed by Natalie Simpkins.

Troy Kotsur with Hunter. Thank you "Father's Day Breakfast" for the opportunity for Troy with this team! How fun to…

Posted by Deanne Bray on Sunday, January 21, 2018

Troy was called to help on developing the so-called ‘conlang’ for the 2019 series “The Mandalorian” and when the directors found out that he was also an actor, he was cast to play Tusken Raiders in this Disney fantasy adventure, which had 121 award nominations, and won 59, including 14 Primetime Emmys.

In 2021, Troy and his co-stars brought to the screen a moving story about Ruby, a CODA who is torn between her fear of abandoning her parents and her desire to attend a prestigious music college. The movie had 137 award nominations and won 63, including three Oscars (Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Motion Picture of the Year, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role).

Besides his Oscar, the first-ever deaf man to receive this award, Troy won the British Academy Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Supporting Actor, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.

Troy is set to star in the announced television series “The Last Police”, and will be seen as Coach Farrior in the sports drama “Flash Before the Bang” – his co-star is his wife.

Wife, daughter

Troy’s wife is actress Deanne Bray, and she is also deaf. Deanne is perhaps known best for her lead role in the series “Sue Thomas: F. B. Eye”.

Troy met his future wife back in 1997, while he was touring with the National Theater of Deaf, and he proposed to her after a few years of dating,  The two married on 1 September 2001, and they have one daughter together, named Kyra Monique Kotsur, who isn’t deaf, but speaks both English and ASL, of course.

Net worth

As an actor and director, Troy has earned a little fortune for himself and his family. According to sources, as of October 2022, his net worth has been estimated at over $10 million.

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