Matthew Roloff

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Matthew Roloff
Born (1961-10-07) October 7, 1961 (age 52)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Residence Hillsboro, Oregon, U.S.
Occupation Actor, author, farmer, business entrepreneur, motivational speaker
Spouse(s) Amy Roloff  (m. 1987)
Children Zach, Jeremy, Molly, Jacob

Matthew James Roloff (born October 7, 1961)[1] is an American actor, author, farmer, business entrepreneur, and motivational speaker best known for participating with his family on the TLC reality television program, Little People, Big World.[2] The show featured the Roloffs' daily life. Roloff has dwarfism, as does his wife Amy and one of their four children, Zachary.

Early life[edit]

Roloff was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a degenerative dwarfism that caused him to have fifteen operations as a child.[1] He was born to Ron and Peggy Roloff, who are often featured on Little People, Big World. They are of average height as is his older sister, Ruth.[1] His younger brother Sam, an artist and founder of Back-Story Underpainting,[3] has diastrophic dysplasia and uses crutches to walk as well. His middle brother Joshua was born with a severe heart malformation. Joshua died in 1999 at age 34.

Family[edit]

The Roloff family includes Matt, Amy, also a little person with achondroplasia, and four children: fraternal twins Jeremy and Zachary (born 1990), Molly (born 1993), and Jacob (born 1997). Zach, like his mother, has achondroplasia, while the other three children are average height. Matt and Amy met at a Little People of America convention in 1987. The couple were engaged quickly and were married on September 12, 1987. In March 2014, the couple announced that they had separated although no plans to divorce have been set yet.[4]

Farm[edit]

The Roloffs bought a fixer-upper farmhouse on 34-acres in Helvetia, Oregon, in 1990. Roloff worked to create Roloff Farm, which now features pumpkins, pirate ship on a lake, three-story treehouse, full-size Medieval castle, regulation soccer field, volleyball court, mine shaft, and underground tunnels. There are also outbuildings and restored barns.[5]

Roloff Farm is open to the public during certain seasons of the year, such as pumpkin season. It receives approximately 30,000 visitors annually.[1]

The Roloffs expanded with the purchase of the 80-acre property next to the farm in 2010.[6]

Early career[edit]

Roloff appeared as an extra in the movie, Under the Rainbow.[1] He also appeared as an Ewok in the Star Wars TV movie Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.[7] He is good friends with fellow little person and actor Martin Klebba, who appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise and is also a member of a leading athletic club for little people, the LA Breakers.

Silicon Valley[edit]

Matt worked as a computer programmer for Silicon Valley companies including Altos Computer Systems in the late 1980s. He sold systems software to Fortune 500 companies.[5] A friend encouraged him to take a job with Sequent Computer Systems, which was headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, in order to escape the long work hours and stress of Silicon Valley. Matt and his wife Amy relocated to the Portland area in 1990, while she was pregnant with twins Jeremy and Zachary.

Direct Access Solutions[edit]

Matt also has a number of other business ventures. On Little People, Big World, he is shown running the business he co-founded, Direct Access Solutions, a company that provides accessibility products for little people to the hospitality industry.

Little People, Big World[edit]

Little People, Big World premiered in August 2005.[8] It was filmed 320 days a year for six seasons.[9] Roloff is an executive producer of the show.[10]

The first season took seven months to film.[8] At the end of the first season of Little People, Big World, Roloff is shown again taking a job in computer sales for the software company Amdocs, for which he worked as a consultant.

In 2008, Roloff traveled to Iraq to assist an Iraqi family with three dwarf children who needed medical attention. His trip was the subject of the season-ending episodes of the fourth season of Little People, Big World, and it was covered by CNN and other national news outlets. The entire family appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2008.

As of December 6, 2010, Little People, Big World concluded its sixth full season. After taking a short break, TLC/Discovery once again reached out to the Roloff family to film 4 one-hour "Little People, Big World" Specials.

In the summer of 2012, the Roloff's began filming another season, a spin-off called Little People Big World: Wedding Farm. Six episodes were filmed and the show was released in November 2012.[6][11]

Little People, Big World: Conquering Mt. St. Helens premiered in March 2013. In this episode, Amy and Zach train to climb Mt. St. Helens and Matt builds a one-room schoolhouse.[12] More specials like this aired.

A seventh season began airing in October 2013.

Motivational speaking[edit]

Roloff is an avid motivational speaker and is listed with the American Program Bureau and is a member of the National Speakers Association. His speeches usually cover inclusion, overcoming odds, and sales leadership.[13]

Roloff has spoken at corporate events for companies like Tyson Foods, Walmart,[14] and United Healthcare.[15] Additionally, he has spoken for associations, such as the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) during their annual conference,[16] the Kansas State Council of SHRM,[17] the Manitoba Childcare Association,[18] and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.[19] Roloff was the keynote speaker at the Kids Included Together (KIT) International Conference on Inclusion 2013.[20]

Roloff also speaks at universities, and has spoken at institutions such as New Mexico State,[21] Adelphi University in New York, Indiana University,[14] Minnesota St. Cloud State University,[22] and Penn State Worthington Scranton.[23] He gave a speech on diversity at the 8th annual diversity conference at Indian Hills Community College in 2011.[24]

In addition, Roloff has appeared as a celebrity guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Rachael Ray, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Chelsea Lately, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.[25][26]

Books[edit]

Roloff has authored two books.[27] In 1999, with the help of a ghostwriter, Roloff authored the book, Against Tall Odds: Being a David in a Goliath World.

In April 2007, a second book, Little Family, Big Values: Lessons in Love, Respect and Understanding for Families of Any Size, was released. Amazon.com credits The Roloff Family and Tracy Summer, the same ghostwriter that helped with Roloff's first book.

Activism[edit]

Roloff is the former President of Little People of America.[8] He also co-founded and serves as President of Coalition for Dwarf Advocacy, a non-profit for short-statured individuals.[28][29] Roloff established Direct Access Solutions, which sells a Short Stature Accessibility Kit to hotel chains with tools for little people and people of short stature to ensure a safe hotel stay.

Roloff has traveled to Iraq three times to visit U.S. troops and help an Iraqi family get medical attention for their three children with dwarfism.[27][30][31]

Lawsuit[edit]

In early 2013, the Roloffs sued Washington County, Oregon when a county building inspector allegedly entered their property without permission or a warrant.[32]

Legal issues[edit]

In 2003, Roloff agreed to enter an alcohol diversion program after being charged with driving under the influence. The arrest stemmed from an incident in which Roloff swerved his vehicle off the road and into a ditch.[33] Upon his completion of the program, the charges were dropped.[33][34]

On June 19, 2007, Roloff was pulled over by Washington County Sheriff's Deputy and charged with DUI. The deputy claimed that Roloff was driving outside the travel lane after leaving a bar parking lot.[35][36] Roloff claimed that he had difficulty controlling the SUV because it was fitted with smaller pedal and brake extensions for his wife, and that he had dropped someone off in the bar parking lot.[36]

Roloff pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge.[36] A witness stated that the bar parking lot was used as a meeting spot and that he did not see Roloff drinking that night.[37][38] Judge Donald LeTourneau acquitted Roloff on the DUI charge and dismissed the case due to jury misconduct and inability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.[36][39] Judge Le Tourneau also stated “I have found Mr. Roloff credible in this case."[38] The trial was the subject of the season opener of Little People, Big World on March 3, 2008, and its conclusion on March 10, 2008.

References[edit]

  • Roloff, Matt & Tracy Summer (1999). Against Tall Odds: Being a David in a Goliath World. Multnomah Publishing. ISBN 1-57673-583-4.
  • Roloff, Matt & Tracy Summer (2007). Little Family, Big Values: Lessons in Love, Respect, and Understanding for Families of Any Size. Fireside. ISBN 1-4165-4910-2

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Emmerson, Kassidy. “Little Known Facts About Matt Roloff from ‘Little People, Big World.’” Yahoo! Voices 21 July 2007
  2. ^ Stevens, Suzanne. “’Little People, Big World’: Yes, I’m a Roloff Fan.” Portland Business Journal. 19 March 2013
  3. ^ http://www.samroloff.com Sam Roloff.com
  4. ^ http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20796006,00.html
  5. ^ a b TLC website. Meet Matt Roloff Accessed 17 May 2013
  6. ^ a b Owen, Rob. “Roloff family returns to TLC, “Little People, Big World: Wedding Farm.” The Oregonian. 11 November 2012
  7. ^ Tresniowski, Alex. Alexandra Hardy. Tall Order; His size once kept him off amusement park rides, so 4'2" Matt Roloff built a fantasy land for his kids People, 3 April 2000.
  8. ^ a b c Lee, Felicia R. "Documenting a Family that Comes in Two Sizes." The New York Times. 2 March 2006
  9. ^ Little People, Big Comeback: Our Interview with Matt Roloff Culture Brats. 8 September 2011
  10. ^ IMDb. “Filmography by TV Series for Matt Roloff.”
  11. ^ Little People, Big World: Wedding Farm TVMuse
  12. ^ Nededog, Jethro. “Watch: The Roloffs Vs. the Mountain.” Celebuzz. 7 March 2013
  13. ^ American Program Bureau website. Matt Roloff Speaker Profile. Accessed 4 April 2013
  14. ^ a b Adelphi University press release. Little People, Big World Star Matt Roloff at Adelphi University Performing Arts Center 25 September 2012. Accessed 4 April 2013
  15. ^ United Healthcare event 5 April 2012
  16. ^ Dvorak, Amy. "Little Person, Big Message." ALA News. February/March 2010. Accessed 4 April 2013
  17. ^ 2011 SHRM Kansas State Conference. "Keynote Speakers." Accessed 4 April 2013
  18. ^ Manitoba Childcare Association. Opening the Doors to Adventure in Early Childhood Education. Keynote Speakers. Accessed 4 April 2013
  19. ^ Cantrell, Jody. Trib. Local. "Overcoming Adversity: Surviving as a Little Person in a Big World." 3 September 2010. Accessed 4 April 2013
  20. ^ KIT Conference on Inclusion website. Speaker Bios. Matt Roloff Accessed 4 April 2013
  21. ^ Nava, Denise. New Mexico State College of Business website. "Innovention competition: 'Little People, Big World' star makes an appearance at NMSU." 23 February 2009. Accessed 4 April 2013
  22. ^ St. Cloud State University website. "Event Calendar." 9 February 2010. Accessed 4 April 2013
  23. ^ Gruzesky, Amy. Penn State News. Worthington Scranton hosts Matt Roloff of Little People, Big World 7 October 2011. Accessed 4 April 2013
  24. ^ Allt, Kate. Heartland Connection. Matt Roloff talks diversity at Indian Hills 13 April 2012. Accessed 4 April 2013
  25. ^ IMDB. Matt Roloff: Self Accessed 4 April 2013
  26. ^ Wolfman Productions. Matt Roloff: Against Tall Odds Accessed 4 April 2013
  27. ^ a b Estavillo, Sonyo. “Matt Roloff — ‘Little People, Big World’ Visits Watertown, NY.” CW 14/22. 25 October 2012.
  28. ^ “Matt Roloff, Star of ‘Little People, Big World,’ Television Series, to give Keynote at JCC Leadership Day.” Jefferson Community College website accessed 17 May 2013
  29. ^ "Biography" Matt Roloff Speaking website accessed 17 May 2013
  30. ^ “Matt and the Salman Family from Iraq.” TLC website: “Little People, Big World.”
  31. ^ Huff, Richard. "Little People, Big World has Big Impact." NY Daily News. 10 October 2008.
  32. ^ Culverwell, Wendy. “The quotable Matt Roloff on celebrity and constitutional rights.” Portland Business Journal. 21 March 2013
  33. ^ a b Little People Big World. Season 3, Episode 2. Originally aired on 3 March 2008.
  34. ^ "Oregon reality TV star arrested for DUI once before". KGW. 31 July 2007. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2007. 
  35. ^ Crombie, Noelle. "Update: Reality star ways not guilty of alleged drunk driving in Washington County." Oregon Live blog. 31 July 2007. Accessed 28 February 2013
  36. ^ a b c d Rocchio, Christopher. "'Little People, Big World' star Matt Roloff found not guilty of DUI." Reality TV World. 11 January 2008. Accessed 28 February 2013
  37. ^ Kearnes, Fara. "Matt Roloff: Little People, Big Not Guilty Verdict." Star Blogs.net. 11 January 2008. Accessed 28 February 2013
  38. ^ a b Court proceedings dated 9 January 2008
  39. ^ Mitchell, Kay. "Roloff acquitted by judge after jury misconduct discovered." The Oregonian. 10 January 2008. Accessed 8 March 2013

External links[edit]