Sean Lance Berdy is an American actor, comedian, and live performer, famous for his performance in the television series ‘Switched at Birth’. Deaf from birth himself, Sean was lauded for his portrayal of Emmett which gained him a nomination for the Teen Choice Award for TV Breakout Star. A talented live performer since he was a little boy, he is also well known for performing Michael Jackson's song ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ in American Sign Language (ASL). He is called the ‘Signing Ninja’ because of the speed with which he signs in ASL. He debuted as a young deaf actor in the film ‘The Sandlot 2’. He was also featured in films like ‘The Bondage’, ‘The Deaf Family’ and ‘The Legend of the Mountain Man’. Determined to not let his deafness limit his career, he has stated, “I see a need to continue breaking down barriers between the hearing and deaf communities and I'd like to take part in building bridges that close that gap.”
Sean Lance Berdy dreamt of pursuing an acting career since he was a young boy. His first breakthrough role came when he was cast as a young deaf boy in the film ‘The Sandlot 2’, the sequel to ‘The Sandlot’. This 2005 film was directed and narrated by David Mickey Evans. In 2006, he was featured as young Trey in the film ‘Bondage’, written and directed by Eric Allen Bell. In 2008, he starred in the film ‘The Deaf Family’. In the same year, he was also cast in the film ‘The Legend of the Mountain Man’. He has also appeared in a number of public service commercials.
In 2011, he started starring in ABC Family's television series, ‘Switched at Birth’, where he played Emmett Bledsoe, who is deaf. Marlee Matlin played his mother. Sean bagged the DeafNation Inspiration Award for Entertainment for his brilliant portrayal of Emmett and for the impact he left on the deaf community. The series was also credited for increasing awareness amongst the deaf community and encouraging many to learn ASL.
Sean also creates music videos in ASL. He often receives invitations to deliver motivational keynote speeches and to perform live at Disney. He has also worked in the ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’, an animated film by Twentieth Century-Fox, where he did an on-camera ASL performance, the first in the industry. He has also produced an ASL version of ‘Hero’, which has been viewed over 1 million times on YouTube. Sean plans to make more ASL music videos in future and develop ‘The Sean Berdy Show’, which would feature his stand-up comedy, life stories, skits, etc.
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Sean Lance Berdy was born on June 3, 1993, in Boca Raton, Florida, to Terrie and Scott Berdy. He has a younger brother, Tyler Berdy. Sean was born deaf, and his parents and younger brother are also deaf. He attended a school for the deaf in Indiana. During his sophomore year, he took part in a nationwide competition, and won the title of Mr. Deaf Teen America. As the winner, he had to travel around the country spreading awareness for deaf people. Due to his performances and acting projects, he completed his high school education remotely from California.
When Sean was a young boy, he used to perform impromptu comedic shows along with his younger brother to entertain his family and friends. Eventually, it became his passion to perform and entertain. He also became interested in magic, and developed his skills in the art. He performed magic at the World Deaf Magicians Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, and won the top award.
While in school, he performed with Vibrations, the school's performing arts touring group. He interpreted Michael Jackson's song ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ with American Sign Language (ASL) and performed live at many places across the country; these performances became major hits. The video of the performance is also very popular on YouTube.