Bernard Bragg.Founded Natl Theater of Deaf.NatFarbman.LIFEPictureColl

Bernard Bragg has died, the first professional Deaf actor and the founder the U.S. National Theater of the Deaf. He studied with the mime Marcel Marceau, then developed a form he called sign-mime, incorporating elements of American Sign Language into the performance. He worked in nightclubs and in several Broadway shows; the National Theater of the Deaf won a Tony Award in 1977, nine years before Marlee Matlin won an Oscar for “Children of a Lesser God.” (Nat Farman/LIFE Picture Collection)

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