Mark Allen Branson

Actor and advocate

A native Oklahoman, Mark Branson became a champion rodeo rider, teacher, and toured with the National Theatre of the Deaf. In 1993, he made movie history by becoming the first deaf actor to play William Wilks in the Disney remake of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It was his first and last movie role. He went on tour with an acclaimed one-man show, The Trunk. As director of Oak Lawn Community Services’ Deaf and Hard of Hearing HIV/AIDS Outreach, he helped educate Deaf members of the Gay/Lesbian community, while battling HIV complications himself. He remained actively involved in outreach to the end of his life. He was planning to return to theater and ITP when he died of a brain hemorrhage at his home in Dallas. A beloved advocate and friend, he was a gifted performer, a perfectionist who prized honesty. Collin County Community College set up a permanent display and established a memorial scholarship.

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