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June 4, 2004

F.B. Eye actor Deanne Bray says her TV series is fun and educational

From: CJAD, Canada - Jun 4, 2004

TORONTO (CP) - A passerby strolling in off the street would be amazed at entering a whole new world. Toronto's historic downtown St. Lawrence Market was the setting recently for the 30th annual Mayfest, an opportunity for the deaf community to come together and check out displays presented by various Canadian organizations and businesses.

Presented by the Ontario Association of the Deaf, the site proved remarkable to those with hearing because although the hall was jammed with people, all was quiet, except for a few excited whispers.

At the centre of one particular hive of activity was Deanne Bray, the actor who plays the title role in CTV's crime series Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye. Bray plays a character based on a real-life person, a deaf woman who worked with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation back in the 1970s.

The show, shot in Toronto, has been picked up for a third season next fall.

"The biggest misconception is that all deaf people can read lips, and that's not true," says Bray. "It's a skill . . . and (only) one out of 800 people develop that skill, whether you are hearing or deaf."

Bray says that in her particular deaf community, the preferred form of communication is American sign language.

She says F.B. Eye is an educational show for hearing people to understand that there are different kinds of deaf people. Some speak, some choose not to, some use American sign language, some can read lips and some prefer to use an interpreter.

Bray was born totally deaf in her right ear. She can hear a little out of her left ear, and with a hearing aid she is able to carry on a regular conversation.

"Growing up I learned how to speak. I learned how to hear and identify sounds. And I also learned American sign language," she says. "My father wanted deaf culture in my life, which I'm grateful for . . . it's nice to be bilingual."

Bray has been working with Deaf West Theatre in the U.S. for 14 years and this summer will perform with her husband, Troy, in the stage play Big River in San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.

"I'll be busy . . . with hearing and deaf people, signing and singing on stage."

The Canadian Press, 2004